Plato’s Republic warns the prospective city-rulers against certain poetic subjects, unless they resort to the distancing filter of humour and narration (396c-e). Accordingly, many prohibited themes censored in the Republic (387dff.) are found in Plato’s ‘narrative’ as opposed to ‘dramatic’ dialogues. Plato’s pioneering ‘narratology’, I argue, has a distinctively moral quality: immoderate laughter, grieving and other instances of insufficient self-control, including eros, must be mitigated through narration. The above principle offers a new insight into Plato’s as opposed to Xenophon’s Symposium. In Plato, ‘erotic’ scenes (flute-girls, drunkenness, sensuality…) are either excised or played down through humorous narration, thus becoming mere incidents. However, Socrates’ words are intrinsically erotic and productive of further discourse, regardless of the narrator’s ability (215d). This perhaps accounts for the famously complex narrative structure of the dialogue – in fact, Socrates’ logoi are reported by his comically awkward ‘lovers’: Apollodorus, Aristodemus, and Alcibiades. Erotic scenes are thus tacitly stripped of every erotic force, whereas Socrates’ logoi are the sole repository of generative power. On the contrary, erotic scenes and similar forms of entertainment – think of the sexy performers hired by Kallias – are in the forefront of Xenophon’s narrative: they inspire and generate the logoi of Kallias’ guests, who often merely provide a commentary of sorts to the events of the symposium. This in turn is responsible for the notoriously erratic structure of Xenophon’s Symposium. Whatever their chronological order, the two Symposia show a reversed hierarchy between logos and ergon: while emphasising the generative power of Socrates’ logoi, Plato’s character-focalised narration distances the reader from potentially ‘dangerous’ contents. Conversely, Xenophon’s almost invisible narrator makes sympotic events conspicuously sensuous, thus emphasising their generative power. This overall interpretative model, I argue, illuminates the narrative peculiarities and the erotic quality of both works.
|Titolo:||Erotic Scenes, Erratic Narratives, Ironic Distances : Plato’s and Xenophon’s Antithetic Symposia|
CAPRA, ANDREA (Primo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2009|
|Parole Chiave:||Platone ; Senofonte ; simposio ; tecnica narrativa|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-FIL-LET/02 - Lingua e Letteratura Greca|
|Citazione:||Erotic Scenes, Erratic Narratives, Ironic Distances : Plato’s and Xenophon’s Antithetic Symposia / A. CAPRA. ((Intervento presentato al convegno The Erotics of Narrative : A KYKNOS colloquium at the Gregynog Conference Centre, 15-17 July 2009 tenutosi a University of Wales nel 2009.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|