Writing in the fourth century B.C., in an Athens that had suffered a humiliating defeat in the Peloponnesian War, Plato formulated questions that have haunted the moral, religious, and political imagination of the West for more than 2,000 years: what is virtue? How should we love? What constitutes a good society? Is there a soul that outlasts the body and a truth that transcends appearance? What do we know and how do we know it? Plato's inquiries were all the more resonant because he couched them in the form of dramatic and often highly comic dialogues, whose principal personage was the ironic, teasing, and relentlessly searching philosopher Socrates. In this splendid collection, Scott Buchanan brings together the most important of Plato's dialogues, including Protagoras, The Symposium, with its barbed conjectures about the relation between love and madness, Phaedo and The Republic, his monumental work of political philosophy. Buchanan's learned and engaging introduction allows us to see Plato both as a commentator on his society and as a shaper of the societies that followed, who bequeathed to us a hunger for the ideal as well as a redeeming habit of humane skepticism.
This volume, edited by Carl Bode in collaboration with Malcolm Cowley, presents the essential Emerson, selected from works that eloquently express the philosophy of a worldly idealist. The Portable Emerson comprises essays, including “History,” “Self-Reliance,” “The Over-Soul,” “Circles,” and “The Poet”; Emerson’s first book, Nature, in its entirety; twenty-two poems, including “Uriel,” “The Humble-Bee,” and “Give All to Love”; orations, including “The American Scholar,” “The Fugitive Slave Law,” and “John Brown”; English Traits, complete; and biographical essays on Plato, Napoleon, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Carlyle, and others.
The Portable Milton is an authoritative grand tour through the imagination of this prodigal genius. In the course of his forty-year career, John Milton evolved from a prodigy to a blind prophet, from a philosophical aesthete to a Puritan rebel, and from a poet who proclaimed the triumph of reason to one obsessed with the intractability of sin. Throughout these transformations, he conceived his work as a form of prayer, written in the service of the supreme being.
In the four and a half centuries since Machiavelli’s death, no single and unanimously accepted interpretation of his ideas has succeeded in imposing itself upon the lively debate over the meaning of his works. Yet there has never been any doubt about the fundamental importance of Machiavelli’s contribution to Western political theory.The Portable Machiavelli brings together the complete texts of The Prince, Belfagor, and Castruccio Castracani, newly translated by Peter Bondanella and Mark Musa especially for this volume. In addition, the editors include an abridged version of The Discourses; a play, The Mandrake Root, in its entirety; seven private letters; and selections from The Art of War and The History of Florence.
In the fourteenth century Geoffrey Chaucer, who served three kings as a customs official and special envoy, virtually invented English poetry. He did so by wedding the language of common speech to metrical verse, creating a medium that could accommodate tales of courtly romance, bawdy fabliaux, astute psychological portraiture, dramatic monologues, moral allegories, and its author’s astonishing learning in fields from philosophy to medicine and astrology. Chaucer’s accomplishment is unequalled by any poet before Shakespeare and—in The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Cressida—ranks with that of the great English novelists. Both The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Cressida are presented complete in this anthology, in fresh modern translations by Theodore Morrison that convey both the gravity and gaiety of the Middle English originals. The Portable Chaucer also contains selections from The Book of Duchess, The House of Fame, The Bird's Parliament, and The Legend of Good Women, together with short poems. Morrison's introduction is vital for its insights into Chaucer as man and artist, and as a product of the Middle Ages whose shrewdness, humor, and compassion have a wonderfully contemporary ring.
The Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, also called the Age of Reason, was so named for an intellectual movement that shook the foundations of Western civilization. In championing radical ideas such as individual liberty and an empirical appraisal of the universe through rational inquiry and natural experience, Enlightenment philosophers in Europe and America planted the seeds for modern liberalism, cultural humanism, science and technology, and laissez-faire Capitalism This volume brings together works from this era, with more than 100 selections from a range of sources. It includes examples by Kant, Diderot, Voltaire, Newton, Rousseau, Locke, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, and Paine that demonstrate the pervasive impact of Enlightenment views on philosophy and epistemology as well as on political, social, and economic institutions.