Imagining the Past

Frieda Klotz

in The Philosopher's Banquet

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588954
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191728907 | DOI:
Imagining the Past

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This chapter explores the pedagogy of Table Talk through the prism of time, autobiography and narrative voice. Plutarch's play with the details of his life in Table Talk is notably ingenious. The portrayal of his character is alinear: in early sections he is a mature philosopher in the company of friends, while the penultimate question pictures him as a younger man listening to his teacher. This kaleidoscopic self-presentation offers readers instances of the philosopher's development as an expert and as a novice without moving simply from one to the other. It suggests that the narrator is not remembering an earlier self who will act as a one-dimensional example for a particular reader, but instead creating a more flexible, dynamic model. Lastly, it has a pedagogic aspect, hinting that, in philosophy, it is as important to learn as it is to teach.

Keywords: pedagogy; autobiography; voice; narrator; time; philosopher; teacher

Chapter.  7399 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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