October 3, 10, 17, and 24, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Presented by Dr. J. Larry Allums
Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, written in 1513, has been called “the most famous book on politics ever written.” According to this view, its nearest rival is Plato’s Republic, a dialogue presenting an ideal “city in speech” ruled by a philosopher king. In The Prince, Machiavelli confronts Plato’s idealism directly, asserting that unlike others who “have imagined republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist in truth,” he is writing something useful for the ruler “who wants to maintain himself” in a harsh world. A quote from Plato’s Apology of Socrates illustrates the distance between the two world views. At the close of his trial, Socrates says to the jury that has condemned him, “…nothing bad can happen to a good man whether in life or after he has died.” In this class, we will examine the great pivot from ancient to modern–what is lost, what is gained.
Dr. Allums will use two translations in class Plato’s The Last Days of Socrates (978-0-14045-549-6) and Machiavelli’s The Prince (978-0-88133-444-9). Any translation will be sufficient. To purchase the books in advance, please contact Registrar Joshua Kalin.
$125, $110 Members, $50 Educator Members
DR. J. LARRY ALLUMS is Executive Director of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. He earned his M.A. in Literature and his Ph.D. in Literature and Political Philosophy from the University of Dallas’ Institute of Philosophic Studies. He came to the Dallas Institute in 1998 from the University of Mobile, where he was Professor of English and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has edited a volume of essays on epic poetry, The Epic Cosmos, and published articles on ancient Greek and Roman literature, Dante, and writers of the American Southern renascence, including William Faulkner, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, and Caroline Gordon. Under his leadership, the Dallas Institute continues to emphasize its commitment to urban issues and its longstanding work with pre-K through 12th grade elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and superintendents.