Reading Plato's Republic As A Literary Text


December 2023


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Leo Strauss has noted that in order to read Plato’s Republic, one has to postpone the philosophical question and become engrossed in the literary question. My dissertation addresses the question of what a literary analysis of Plato’s Republic might produce. My research in the philosophical tradition not only involves the modern and contemporary periods but also that of the Renaissance and earlier times and I discovered that traditional philosophers and commentators have a way of reading the Republic which is distanced from its literary content. I performed my analysis of Plato’s Republic using literary glossaries to identify literary devices, narrative tools, and conventions of writing, in the text, and to explain how Plato uses them. I discovered that Plato made a significant number of choices about how to write the text – choices which have implications not only for how the text should be read but also about how we should think of his philosophy. These findings are significant because they stand in contradiction to traditional commentaries in the philosophical tradition which never manage to produce the literary spirit inherent in the text.



Literature, Comparative, Philosophy, Literature, Classical