A Crude Contradiction; Or, The Second Accent of the <i>Symposium</i>

in Socrates & the Fat Rabbis

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226069166
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226069180 | DOI:
A Crude Contradiction; Or, The Second Accent of the Symposium

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Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel and Friedrich Nietzsche, it seems, first brought Plato's dialogues into what would be the Bakhtinian ken by identifying them as novels. This identification has found some currency among literary scholars, including Kevin Corrigan and Elena Glazov-Corrigan. The speakers in the Symposium, however, are not at all presented as authentic voices. All of them are crammed rather into Plato's consciousness and its protreptic aims for philosophy. There hardly seems in the Symposium any intense interactions and struggle between the Platonic (or Socratic) word and the words of any other. The flat, not even quite parodic (although surely reductive) production and refutation of the other speakers is not then, in the Bakhtinian sense, dialogical; it is a classic instance of monological dialogue. Another writer who has described the Symposium in Mikhail Bakhtin's terms as a novel is Barbara Gold, whose argument also proceeds from the understanding of the different speakers in the main body of the Symposium as genuinely “other” voices. This chapter focuses on the “satyr play” with which the Symposium ends, Alcibiades' inburst and outburst.

Keywords: Friedrich Nietzsche; Plato; novels; voices; Symposium; Barbara Gold; satyr play; Mikhail Bakhtin; dialogues; monological dialogue

Chapter.  10329 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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