This is the first full-length study of the Symposium to be published in English, and one of the first English works on Plato to take its bearings by the dramatic form of the Platonic dialogue, a thesis that was regarded as heterodox at the time but which today is widely accepted by scholars of the most diverse standpoint. Rosen was also one of the first to study in detail the philosophical significance of the phenomenon of concrete human sexuality, as it is presented by Plato in the diverse characters of the main speakers in the dialogue. His analysis of the theoretical significance of pederasty in the dialogue was highly controversial at the time, but is today accepted as central to Plato's dramatic phenomenology of human existence.
Rosen discusses a variety of topics that had previously been neglected in the secondary literature, including the problem of the hybristic nature of the philosopher, the poetical dimension of Plato's conception of philosophy, and the theoretical implication of the difference between Platonic writing and Socratic conversation.
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"Recent years have seen a small but steady flow of major studies in the Platonic dialogues, marked by a marriage of scholarly thoroughness with genuine humanistic warmth. This volume is one such. . . . A wealth of linguistic and cultural lore pertaining to ancient Greece. . . . This book must be in every college library." -- Choice
"Rosen treats the Symposium very much from the literary point of view. He has . . . perceptive observations to make on the dramatic elements in Plato's style, on his use of irony, and on his characterizations." -- Times Literary Supplement
"Rosen's book is strikingly different from most English writing on Plato. The volume is beautifully produced, and contains an extensive and useful bibliography." -- H. J. Easterling, Classical Review
"This exciting book . . . contains much to reflect upon. The author possesses a good knowledge of ancient texts but does not hesitate to provide very instructive references to modern philosophy. . . . One may say of this book what the author says of the Platonic dialogue as compared to a poem or a set of axioms: no description is equivalent to its content or it implications." -- Rmi Brague, Revue Philosophique de Louvain
"[H]ighly intelligent and . . . stimulating book." -- Trevor J. Saunders, Journal of Hellenic Studies
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