R. E. Allens superb new translation of Platos Symposium brings this classic text to life for modern readers. Allen supplements his translation with a commentary that not only enriches our understanding of Platos philosophy and the world of Greek antiquity but also provides insights into present-day philosophical concerns.
Allen reveals the unity of Platos intentions in the Symposium, explores the dialogues major themes, and links them with Platos other dialogues. His wide-ranging commentary includes discussions of Greek religious, social, and sexual practices, the conceptual connections between the Symposium and Freud, the influence of the Symposium on later writers, and recent scholarship on the dialogue. Allens primary focus is philosophical, however, and he succeeds in explicating the doctrine of Eros in Platos Symposium so that the reader can see how wish and desire relate to Platos moral philosophy, epistemology, and metaphysics.