The City and the Stage: Performance, Genre, and Gender in Plato's Laws

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9780190266172: The City and the Stage: Performance, Genre, and Gender in Plato's Laws
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What role did poetry, music, song, and dance play in the social and political life of the ancient Greek city? How did philosophy respond to, position itself against, and articulate its own ambitions in relation to the poetic tradition? How did ancient philosophers theorize and envision alternatives to fourth-century Athenian democracy? The City and the Stage poses such questions in a study of the Laws, Plato's last, longest, and unfinished philosophical dialogue. Reading the Laws in its literary, historical, and philosophical contexts, this book offers a new interpretation of Plato's final dialogue with the Greek poetic tradition and an exploration of the dialectic between philosophy and mimetic art. Although Plato is often thought hostile to poetry and famously banishes mimetic art from the ideal city of the Republic, The City and the Stage shows that in his final work Plato made a striking about-face, proposing to rehabilitate Athenian performance culture and envisaging a city, Magnesia, in which poetry, music, song, and dance are instrumental in the cultivation of philosophical virtues. Plato's views of the performative properties of music, dance, and poetic language, and the psychological underpinnings of aesthetic experience receive systematic treatment in this book for the first time. The social role of literary criticism, the power of genres to influence a society and lead to specific kinds of constitutions, performance as a mechanism of gender construction, and the position of women in ancient Greek performance culture are central themes throughout this study. A wide-ranging examination of ancient Greek philosophy and fourth-century intellectual culture, The City and the Stage will be of significance to anyone interested in ancient Greek literature, performance, and Platonic philosophy in its historical contexts.

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About the Author:


Marcus Folch is Associate Professor of Classics at Columbia University. His published work includes studies of ancient Greek literature, philosophy, and literary criticism, as well as classical reception in the 20th century.

Review:


"Folch provides a worthwhile contribution to our understanding of an under-read Platonic dialogue." -- Gregory Kirk (Northern Arizona University), Polis, The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 35


"The City and the Stage welcomes its readers warmly: the introduction states the author's aims clearly, situates the book in the context of current scholarship, clarifies its methodology and provides a careful overview of the Laws targeted at the non-specialist reader. ... With its sustained focus on performance and illuminating discussion of many elusive problems, to which this brief review cannot do justice, The City and the Stage is a very welcome addition to the recent flowering of studies on the Laws." -- Andrea Capra, Greek and Roman Musical Studies


"Folch's is impressive because it demonstrates convincingly the central role Plato would
give to musical performance. In particular he shows how it provides the psychological underpinnings for the institutions and practices described in the dialogue. In this way it does much to elucidate what Plato has in mind when he has the Athenian insist that every institution in the city must serve to promote complete virtue among the citizens." --Richard Stalley, The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition


"Folch's book is outstanding, full of original and exciting ideas. This is a major contribution to the field of classical studies." --Andrea Nightingale, Stanford University


"This sophisticated analysis elucidates how Plato's ideal community would transform musical performance into training for citizenship. Working with themes of genre and gender, Folch offers a lucid and stylish examination that relates spectatorship to civic identity, and makes persuasive correlations between aesthetic, ethical and political concerns in Laws." --Judith Fletcher, Wilfrid Laurier University


"The book is well produced, and ... I recommend it to both scholars and general readers. With its sustained focus on performance and illuminating discussion of many elusive problems, to which this brief review cannot do justice, The City and the Stage is a very welcome addition to the recent flowering of studies on the Laws." --Andrea Capra, Greek and Roman Musical Studies


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. What role did the performance of poetry, music, song, and dance play in the political life of the ancient city? How has philosophy positioned itself and articulated its own ambitions in relation to the poet tradition? The Polis and the Stage poses such questions through a reading of Plato last, longest, and unfinished work, the Laws. Plato's engagement with the Greek poetic tradition has long been recognized as foundational in the history ofliterary criticism, but the broader critical and philosophical significance of the Laws has been largely ignored. Although Plato is often thought hostile to mimetic art, famously banishing poets from the ideal city of the Republic, this book shows that in his final dialogue Plato made a striking about-face, proposing torehabilitate Athenian performance culture and envisioning a city, in which poetry, music, song, and dance are instrumental in the cultivation of philosophical virtues. The psychological underpinnings of aesthetic experience and the power of mimetic art to predispose a society to specific kinds of constitutions are central themes throughout this study. Plato's views of the performative properties of language and genre receives systematic treatment in this study for the first time. Performance asa mechanism of sexual construction-a network of social practices uniquely suited to communicate and enforce normative conceptions of gender and erotic pleasure-is another focus, with special attention given to positions occupied by women in the culture envisaged in the Laws. As a whole, MarcusFolch's book provides an integrated interpretation of Plato's final dialogue with the Greek poetic tradition, an exploration of the dialectic between philosophy and mimetic art, which will be of interest to anyone concerned with understanding ancient Greek performance and the emergence of philosophical discourse in fourth-century Athens. Seller Inventory # BTE9780190266172

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