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Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic
Published by: Indiana University Press
"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.
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
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
Of Poets and Distance
Healing from Oblivion
The Poet and Other Voices
Apologa: The Ethos of Poesis
The Feast of War
Socrates' Third Way
Socrates contra Socratem
War and Greatness
Beyond the Gateway
Souls in a Meadow
The Image of the Law
The Choice of the Daimon
Having Loved Sopha
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.