Dr Brandwood's book presents a factual and critical account of the more important of the various attempts that have been made to establish the order of composition of Plato's dialogues by analysing his diction and prose style. Plato's literary activity covered fifty years and there is almost no direct evidence, either external or internal, to help in establishing the relative order of his writings. Until the middle of the nineteenth century people were dependent on personal interpretation of the probable line of development of Plato's thought and doctrines, but then a less subjective method was discovered, which relied instead on the observation of changes in Plato's prose style. Dr Brandwood examines the investigations of each scholar individually, checking the correctness of the methodology and the accuracy of the statistics, before arriving at fairly definite conclusions of his own, at least as far as the works of Plato's middle and old age are concerned.
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