Favourite Reads

Each month, we ask a different member of our department to select a book on philosophy that has had a lasting impact on them and to share their thoughts and reflections on why it's such an important read.

November Pick | Selected by Professor Vasilis Politis

John Williams | Stoner

I read this book last April, on the recommendation of Ross Skelton, himself a former colleague at TCD Philosophy and, now in his retirement, the author of a very well-received memoir (he is now working on a second memoir).

Ross recommended it to me over lunch, which we were having at Carluccios practically next to Hodges Figgis the bookshop. Some genial spirit must have been directing my feet, for I went into HF directly after lunch, and within a day or two I had read Stoner.

I have, honestly, not read such a good novel for years. While reading the ending I was reduced to floods of tears the way it only happens when I read the end of Plato's Phaedo. On coming to the end of the novel I suddenly realized that Stoner, the protagonist, is none other than Socrates, who was of course a stonemason himself and that Williams has modelled Stoner's death at the end of the novel on Socrates' last hour as described by Plato in the Phaedo.

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Professor Vasilis Politis

Professor of Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin

Vasilis Politis has been teaching in the Department of Philosophy since 1992. He is also director of the Dublin Centre for the Study of the Platonic Tradition. He is known for his expertise on Plato and Aristotle and the the author of numerous books, including The Structure of Enquiry in Plato's Early Dialogues (Cambridge, 2015) and The Aporetic Tradition in Ancient Philosophy (with George Karamanolis, Cambridge, 2018).

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