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Which translation of Plato's Republic do you recommend?

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:42 pm
by CornyBum
I plan to buy a copy of Plato's Republic but wanted the 'best' translation. I'm looking at Robin Waterfield's translation for Oxford World's Classics, G.M.A Grube's translation for Hackett Publishing Co., and Allan Bloom's translation for Basic Books. From the reviews, the first translation from Oxford World's Classics seems to be geared most to be readable with the belief that Plato intended his work to be accessible as such. The third translation by Allan Bloom seems to be well known and highly lauded for its very literal approach. The second translation (from G.M.A. Grube) seems to sit somewhere in the middle. I'm not planning to read this for scholarly purposes; I just want to enjoy a monumental classic. Does this mean that the more readable translations suit me, or is it always better to go for the more literally accurate translation, despite its potential to be more demanding on the reader? Please provide me with your recommendations and advice. Feel free to cast your vote for a translation other than the three I've mentioned. I've noticed a very similar thread on the same page of this "Book Club" forum but thought my unique situation and approach warranted its own thread.

Re: Which translation of Plato's Republic do you recommend?

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:34 am
by ala1993
I wouldn't say that there is one 'best' translation (and it can often be of great help to read more than one translation in order to get a more 'rounded' view of the text). However, of the ones I've read I've always preferred the Oxford World's Classics edition (trans. Robin Waterfield). The first time I read it I used the Penguin Classics edition (trans. Desmond Lee) and this is also a translation I would recommend. However, I'd always prefer the Waterfield to the Lee if given the choice.