Books to Awaken, Delight, & Educate

The Music of the Republic :
Essays on Socrates' Conversations and Plato's Writings

Music of the Republic

Trade Paper
378 pp.
5.38" x 8.5"
November 2011
ISBN: 9781589880757

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Eva Brann

Take a Moment and read an excerpt from this book.

Also available in hardcover

In this collection of essays, Eva Brann talks with readers about the conversations Socrates has with his fellow Athenians. She shows how Plato's dialogues and the timeless matters they address remain important to us today. From introductory pieces on the Republic, the Phaedo, and the Sophist, to an account of the less well known Charmides, each essay starts where Plato starts, without presupposing a critical theory. In the title essay's brilliant account of the Republic, Brann demonstrates its central importance in Plato's work. Other essays consider Plato's notion of time; discuss how to teach Plato to undergraduates; and contend that a thoughtful text-based study of Plato can have a very personal impact on a reader. Encouraged to befriend the dialogues, readers will join in the great Socratic conversations.

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  • From Chapter Five, "Introduction to Reading the Republic":

    "Since it is a conversation recorded between the covers of a book we cannot help but begin by reading it, but I think the author wants us as soon as possible to join it, to be converted from passive perusal to active participation . . . The reader is, I think, invited to be present . . . to smile or snicker at witticisms and inside jokes, to groan in outrage at trick arguments, to nod approval at satisfying formulations, to recall contradictory passages of conversation, to appreciate the return of a theme, and in sum, to check and fill out the recorded conversation with an unwritten inner accompaniment — to be always just on the brink of breaking in."

    "The title essay of this collection is a miniature masterpiece, one of the most seminal writings of our time on Plato's Republic." —John Sallis, Pennsylvania State University

    "Imagine a reluctant guide to Plato's writings, one concerned not to preemptively explain, rather wanting readers directly to join Socratic conversations, one deeply and broadly learned in both the texts and the world of ancient Greece, at the same time one fully alive to the sources of philosophic wonder and the possibilities of such conversations in our time, and one who leads readers with the rare gift of luminous graceful prose. This is Eva Brann. How very welcome that her long treasured substantial essay 'The Music of the Republic,' which gives this collection its center and title, is here made more readily available for all who share her enthusiasm for Plato's writings." —Walter Nicgorski, University of Notre Dame / Editor, The Review of Politics

    "It is a wonder and a delight to be led by Eva Brann through the Socratic conversations. She begins from first impressions and moves through perplexity to clarity, without losing the thread. Those who do not know the Republic, will be initiated into its treasures. Those who believe that it is a great book will understand better what they already know. And all who teach the dialogues will find their souls expanded in the presence of this most generous teacher." —Ann Hartle, Emory University

    Eva Brann is a member of the senior faculty at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, where she has taught for more than forty years. Brann holds an M.A. in Classics and a Ph.D. in Archaeology from Yale University. Her other books include The Ways of Naysaying; What, Then, Is Time?; and The World of the Imagination. A volume of her selected essays, The Past-Present, was published in 1997.

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