Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic

Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic

Claudia Baracchi
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/20/2001
Format: paper 264 pages, 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21485-0
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"Baracchi has identified pivotal points around which the Republic operates; this allows a reading of the entire text to unfold. . . . a very beautifully written book." —Walter Brogan

" . . . a work that opens new and timely vistas within the Republic. . . . Her approach . . . is thorough and rigorous." —John Sallis

Although Plato’s Republic is perhaps the most influential text in the history of Western philosophy, Claudia Baracchi finds that the work remains obscure and enigmatic. To fully understand and appreciate its meaning, she argues, we must attend to what its original language discloses. Through a close reading of the Greek text, attentive to the pervasiveness of story and myth, Baracchi investigates the dialogue’s major themes. The first part of the book addresses issues of generation, reproduction, and decay as they apply to the founding of Socrates’ just city. The second part takes up the connection between war and the cycle of life, employing a thorough analysis of Plato’s rendition of the myth of Er. Baracchi shows that the Republic is concerned throughout with the complex but intertwined issues of life and war, locating the site of this tangled web of growth and destruction in the mythical dimension of the Platonic city.

Author Bio

Claudia Baracchi is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The New School. Her articles on philosophy, art, and literary theory have appeared in numerous journals in English and Italian.

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Table of Contents


First Part: "Old women telling tales"(350 e): The City in View, the City
I. On Regeneration

Going Down, Or: In the Degenerating City

Figures of Corruption, Or: Against the Degenerating City

Regeneration, Or: Away from the City
II. The Law of (Re)production

The Magnified Letters of Justice

The Circle of Growth

Of Life: The Dictation of the Muses

Dia-logical Necessity

Of Justice without Idea
Second Part: "A tale was saved and not lost" (621 b): Vision at the End of the Visible
III. Preliminary Remarks in a Rhapsodic Form

Giving Back

Of Poets and Distance

Healing from Oblivion

The Poet and Other Voices

Apologa: The Ethos of Poesis
IV. War

Passing Places

The Feast of War

Moving Dialogue

Socrates' Third Way

Socrates contra Socratem

War and Greatness
V. Vision

Beyond the Gateway


Souls in a Meadow

The Image of the Law

The Choice of the Daimon

Having Loved Sopha
VI. (Re)birth
Selected Bibliography