Dirty dancing: Xenophon's Symposium

TitleDirty dancing: Xenophon's Symposium
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsWohl, V
EditorMurray, P, Wilson, P
Ancient AuthorsXenophon Hist. (TLG 0032)
Book TitleMusic and the Muses: the culture of 'mousikē' in the classical Athenian city
PublisherOxford University Press
Keywordsdanza, educazione, Senofonte, simposio

This chapter centres on Xenophon's Symposium and the significance of dance within the dialogue. Beginning with a discussion of dancing, pleasure, and paideia in Plato's Laws, it suggests that Xenophon's text is concerned with the same philosophical issues surrounding mousike, mimesis, pleasure, and the good. The dialogue stages a competition between the pleasure of dance and the pleasure of philosophical discourse. But Socrates himself is figured as a dancer, an image which is explored within the context of two interconnected sympotic themes, paideia, and eros. The contest proves to be less straight-forward than might first appear, for the lascivious dance with which the dialogue ends threatens to undermine Socrates' earlier insistence on the superiority of ouranian pederastic eros. [http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199242399.001.0001/acprof-9780199242399-chapter-13]


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