A Queer Feeling for Plato: corporeal affects, philosophical hermeneutics, and queer receptions

Angelaki 21 (2):139-162 (2016)
Emanuela Bianchi
New York University
This paper takes Plato's metaphor of poetic transmission as magnetic charge in the Ion as a central trope for thinking through the various relationships between philosophy and literature; between poetry, interpretation, and truth; and between erotic affects and the material, corporeal, queer dimensions of reception. The affective dimensions of the Platonic text in the Ion, Republic, Symposium, and Phaedrus are examined at length, and the explicit accounts of ascent to philosophical truth are shown to be complicated by the persistence of tropes of corporeal and affective downgoing, with particular attention afforded to the figures of Eros, Hermes, and shame. The paper argues for an unbroken connection between these scenes of classical philosophy and the emergence of homosexuality in relation to the study of the classics in Victorian England.
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DOI 10.1080/0969725x.2016.1182733
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