Classics and Ancient History Seminar: The Comic Worldview: Plato Symposium 189c ff
Anthony Hooper | University of Wollongong
The Comic Worldview: Plato Symposium 189c ff.
In his landmark 2002 monograph, The Aesthetics of Mimesis, Stephen Halliwell argues that, most fundamentally, Plato engages with established poetic genres as proto-philosophical worldviews, making claims through representation regarding the way the world really is. It is an approach scholars have since employed and developed, with fascinating and often surprising outcomes. However, all such studies have been focused on Plato’s conception of the tragic worldview. In this paper, I attempted an analogous task of reconstructing Plato’s conception of the comic worldview, looking particularly to Aristophanes’ encomium of erôs in Plato’s Symposium (189c2-193d5). Rejecting the accepted scholarly consensus that Aristophanes’ fable of the origins of erotic desire is a tragic piece, I argue that we should understand this passage as advancing key claims that should be conceived as (in Plato’s mind) foundational to a worldview that is properly comic.
About the speaker
Anthony Hooper is a lecturer in the School of Liberal Arts at the University of Wollongong. He is a specialist in ancient Greek philosophy, and especially Plato and the Presocratics. He is currently editing a volume for CUP entitled, The Draw of Thaleia: Plato’s Critiques, Appropriations, and Transformations of Greek Comedy, co-edited with Prof. Andrea Capra (Durham) and Assoc. Prof. Sarah Miles (Durham). This talk has emerged from his contribution to this volume. He notes with pride that other scholars and editors typically characterise his research as ‘laughable’.
Location – Hybrid
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