Monday, May 9, 2011

Plato’s Apology of Socrates: A New Translation, in the Style of a Cinematic Novella

Steve Kostecke

CreateSpace (2011)
ISBN 9781456490614
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views


"Plato's Apology of Socrates: A New Translation, in the Style of Cinematic Novella" is a unique and innovative approach to introducing classic literature to a new generation of readers. This is a relevant translation of Classic Greek Philosophy, translated into clear contemporary English, easy to understand.  In lieu of footnotes Kostecke has chosen to use bracketed paragraphs to create cinematic word pictures which help the reader visualize the Athenian Courthouse and the courtroom where the dramatic trial takes place.

Detailed cinematic instructions clearly describe sets, costumes, body language, hand movements, and character descriptions. This cinematic strategy allows the reader an opportunity for creating their own imaginative impression and to build a personal movie like visualization of the scene, the action, and the characters. Kostecke clearly understands the emotional power of words. By adding a sense of audio to the oration and dialog, the trial takes on a real life dimension for the reader.

Kostecke's writing reveals amazing insight into the Greek classics. His extensive research is well documented and referenced. Extracts are pieced together from Demosthenes' writings. I especially appreciated the handling of the four flashbacks to the scene in the Agora from Xenophon's version of "The Apology of Socrates" and the scene of Socrates' death taken from "Plato's Phaedo." Steve Kostecke has drawn from the Greek text edited by John Burnet and Liddell as well as Scott's Greek-English Lexicon. Several other texts are credited in his documentation of sources. I was also fascinated with the scene where Socrates digressed in his appeal to give a glimpse into his philosophy of life.

A major in English literature, Greek studies, and a Masters degree in Foreign Language Education led to opportunities for Kostecke to teach English as a foreign language in universities in Japan, Korea, Thailand and Pennsylvania.

"Plato's Apology of Socrates: A New Translation, in the Style of Cinematic Novella" is entertaining, enlightening, and a powerful and dramatic presentation of Socrates' defense plea for his life.