The Hidden Host: Irigaray and Diotima at Plato's Symposium

Hypatia 3 (3):45 - 61 (1989)
Abstract
Irigaray's reading of Plato's Symposium in Ethique de la difference sexuelle illustrates both the advantages and the limits of her textual practise. Irigaray's attentive listening to the text allows Diotima's voice to emerge from an overlay of Platonic scholarship. But both the ahistorical nature of that listening and Irigaray's assumption of feminine marginality also make her a party to Plato's sabotage of Diotima's philosophy. Understood in historical context, Diotima is not an anomaly in Platonic discourse, but the hidden host of Plato's banquet, speaking for a pre-Socratic world view against which classical Greek thought is asserted. Understood in historical context, Plato is not the authoritative founder of Western thought against whom only marginal skirmishes can be mounted, but a rebellious student who manages to transform Diotima's complex teaching on personal identity, immortality, and love into the sterile simplicities of logical form.
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References found in this work BETA
R. G. Bury (1910). The Symposium of Plato. Journal of Hellenic Studies 30:183.
Jacques Derrida (1982). Dissemination. University of Chicago Press.

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