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Below is Dr. Tripp's response: "I can't help you with the Plato.

Selected Dialogues of Plato: The Benjamin Jowett Translation (Modern Library Classics)

My own copy is a volume of Jowett in which I transcribed all the changes I had time to record one day when Kinsey suggested I might want to make a few of these notes. Little did I know at the time that my notations would probably be the only ones from their massive work that would ever see the light of day. I doubt if the present staff of the Institute for Sex Research could even find their originals buried as they are in a huge mass of untapped data -- and I'm positive that they would not feel free to release such material if they could find it.

Even the little bit that I've published has brought charges of my "hawking" homosexuality, a protest that would be much louder should any research group backed by university and government funds dare to go further. A fact of life is that the facts of life often cannot be factually reported.

As Tripp wrote: "In the politics of getting their volumes chosen by schools and colleges, they publishers and timid. ETA: Previously discussed here. To say Jowett's Symposium and Lysis are "garbled almost beyond recognition" is overdoing it. Notice Doctor Tripp was still relying on Jowett, despite the bowdlerization. He must have been able to recognize the substance of it. If you're looking for a lot of explicit discussion of sex, you're not going to find it in Plato no matter who the translator is.

Try Aristophanes. And how does Doctor Kinsey come to be an authority? Tripp may have been looking for more in Plato than is there. That would explain why he couldn't find it in ANY translation. Okay, Jowlett bowdlerized Plato - I get it. But I still think those near contemporary remarks may have more to do with politics of their times.

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Jowlett was up to his knees in university reforms and theological debates. He was seen - and even tried - as a heretic. So I do think those remarks about him only being interested in profit might possibly simply be inspired by the row about his raise. It seems that the OP raised two questions: 1 why this contemporary animosity around the Press and his Vice-Chancellorship and 2 are the translations considered any good now-a-days.

On the first, politics both internal and imperial and money certainly were in play. A former fellow even has a Pattison v. Jowett page. I'll use it when preparing to teach The Republic , but what I actually have the students read is the Desmond Lee translation that appears in the Penguin edition also because it's cheap, and lessening the financial burden on my students is always an important consideration for me when I assign textbooks.

The Princeton University Press edition of the Complete Dialogues is full of good translations by a number of hands, including Jowett. Many people swear by the Loeb Classical Library translations of almost everything, though except for the Republic their Plato is mostly from the 's. For the major dialogues there are numerous translations available from Amazon and independent booksellers, used and new. Heritage Press reproduced Jowett because they always used old translations, I don't know why, maybe copyright reasons, and their business was elegant illustrated versions of old books.

If you are doing a close study of philosophy or Plato in particular, you probably don't want Jowett. If you want to read some Plato for general education, Jowett will do well. If you just like Heritage Books, you're in good company. Yes, MMcM, thanks for finding the previous discussion I was too preoccupied to search for it.

Tripp actually compared five translations in his book Here's Kinsey's translator's version of Tripp's final selection: "Now I thought he was eager for my bloom of youth and I believed that it was a windfall and my marvelous piece of good luck that it should fall to me to sexually gratify Socrates in order to hear everything he knew.

Here's Jowett's version: Now I thought he was seriously enamoured of my beauty and this appeared to be a grand opportunity of hearing him tell what he knew. In Perseus.

Selected Dialogues of Plato

Is that considered an accurate translation? The basic meaning of the verb, then, it to do someone a favor, to show them kindness or graciousness. Or, to quote the full entry in the Middle Liddell: I. I'm sure that it's possible or even probable that word did, indeed, also have a sexual connotation. But in this context, that sexual connotation is nowhere to be found, especially since listening to someone is not an inherently sexual act. It takes a particularly warped mind to assume that the obscure sexual meaning of a word should be the dominant one when more common, non-sexual meanings make more sense in context.

Or to offer an analogy: "screw" is well-known as a euphemism for having sex. Does that mean that every time you see the word "screw", you should assume its sexual meaning? When an engineering textbook describes a "good screw", do you think it's talking about sex or about a well-built mechanical devise? And thus, to answer GiltEdge's question: that Kinsey translation is not widely accepted as accurate. For obvious reasons, Kinsey had sex on the brain and saw sex everywhere he looked, despite the fact that it wasn't always there. It does seem that "sexually gratify" is a bit in your face, when just "gratify" would probably suffice.

But, with respect, to deny that there is any sexual context is to mischaracterize Alcibiades's story. He is convinced that Socrates wants him as a lover and tries everything to make it happen: he sends the attendant away; he invites him over for late dinners. That this does not work does not change what he is talking about.

Again I will suggest that Stoppard has done a good job of capturing the importance of Jowett's translations and educational reforms in English British culture and English -language literature.

Plato, Benjamin Jowett

He has Jowett and Ruskin agree, "Nowhere was the ideal of morality, art and social order realized more harmoniously than in Greece in the age of the great philosophers. From Pater's student Oscar Wilde we get the deliberately outrageous claim at his trial that, "The Love that dare not speak its name Plato made the very basis of his philosophy. Can we hope that today's students will take this all in stride, as part of the story, but not the whole story, for ancient Greek philosophy or early 20th century European literature?

And, therefore, that they can actually get the gist even from Jowett's translations? And I think you hit it on the head: the verb may include that sexual context, but to translate it as "sexually gratify" artificially narrows the semantic field to exclude other areas of gratification--specifically, intellectual, I suppose--that the verb also seems to carry. As much as we would do Plato a disservice by rendering the sexual context mute, we would do just as much damage if we overly emphasized the sexual context to the point of ignoring what is, in fact, the whole point of the Symposium: to relate the connection between various kinds of love that range from the strictly physical all the way up to the Good.

It does seem rather silly for Jowett to translate Plato to have Alcibiades say that since Socrates is besotted with his, Alcibiades, beauty Not anymore. I particularly value your translating abilities, Nathaniel Campbell, but it should be noted that Kinsey didn't translate Plato. The Institute hired translators. It might be valid to say the translator may have had "sex on the brain", though of course we don't know that to be true, either. Very early in his career as a Marriage Course instructor at Indiana University, as well from his and his wife's own personal experiences following their marriage, Kinsey saw how destructive ignorance and guilt are to normal, healthy sexual relationships.

Over the years he sought to shed light on every aspect of human sexuality I don't know about anyone else, but I lived through some of those dark years of ignorance and guilt, and I thank Kinsey for having the guts to speak, and seek, truth. Thinking that everything has to do with sex is just as destructive as being ignorant and guilty about it.

This, of course, is more Aristotelian than Platonic, but there you go Whatever the value of identifying sexual references in things dead people wrote, I can understand that Kinsey probably had a research interest in what Plato was talking about in the Symposium. The fact that he was working in the '50's would explain his hiring a translator, for the translations then available could not be trusted in this context. The translation that resulted was probably useful for him, but it falls into the same kind of translatorial error as Jowett's, making Plato's ambiguous word more explicit than it actually was, instead of Jowett's more or less ignoring it.

I wonder what Agathon thought it meant. It was his party, so he could laugh if he wanted to. To GiltEdge: if you are worried about missing something, read a recent annotated translation, these issues are explored in the notes. So, is there a modern English translation of Plato that neither ignores nor exploits the socio-sexual context of the works?

Perhaps Plato wrote what the readers of his time understood, implicitly, and he should be faulted for not being more explicit for the benefit of 21st Century readers. It must be similar to what many if not most people think, today, when they hear that two men or two women are having "sex". We think we know what that means, but we really don't. Today, in same-sex relationships we'll probably find more variations than exist in the purely heterosexual world. Indeed, some supposedly heterosexual men believe they are purely heterosexual, though they occasionally play the active role in same-sex relationships.

As long as they don't kiss, or hug, or display any emotional give-and-take, they feel completely confident in their heterosexuality. On the other hand I have heard of some gay men who never do anything but engage in mutual masturbation. If Alkibiades was surprised to find that Socrates merely enjoyed observing his youthful beauty as he tried to teach him to think, logically The unanswered question is what did Alkibiades expect in the way of sexual pleasure Why didn't Plato spell it out.

Probably he was thinking, "I have enough on my mind, I can't be bothered with this, one of these days Rood will come along and spell it out for me. That was my point Plato didn't say what he meant because he didn't have to expound.


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He knew his then readers knew what he meant when had Alkipides say that he was looking forward to sexually gratifying Socrates. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information A collection of Plato's dialogs addresses the importance of cross-examination in the search for truth, the nature of rhetoric and love, and the art of persuasion.


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