Rhapsody of Philosophy: Dialogues with Plato in Contemporary Thought

Paperback | August 31, 2010

byMax Statkiewicz

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This book proposes to rethink the relationship between philosophy and literature through an engagement with Plato’s dialogues. The dialogues have been seen as the source of a long tradition that subordinates poetry to philosophy, but they may also be approached as a medium for understanding how to overcome this opposition. Paradoxically, Plato then becomes an ally in the attempt “to overturn Platonism,” which Gilles Deleuze famously defined as the task of modern philosophy. Max Statkiewicz identifies a “rhapsodic mode” initiated by Plato in the dialogues and pursued by many of his modern European commentators, including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Irigaray, Derrida, and Nancy. The book articulates this rhapsodic mode as a way of entering into true dialogue (dia-logos), which splits any univocal meaning and opens up a serious play of signification both within and between texts. This mode, he asserts, employs a reading of Plato that is distinguished from interpretations emphasizing the dialogues as a form of dogmatic treatise, as well as from the dramatic interpretations that have been explored in recent Plato scholarship—both of which take for granted the modern notion of the subject. Statkiewicz emphasizes the importance of the dialogic nature of the rhapsodic mode in the play of philosophy and poetry, of Platonic and modern thought—and, indeed, of seriousness and play. This highly original study of Plato explores the inherent possibilities of Platonic thought to rebound upon itself and engender further dialogues.

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This book proposes to rethink the relationship between philosophy and literature through an engagement with Plato’s dialogues. The dialogues have been seen as the source of a long tradition that subordinates poetry to philosophy, but they may also be approached as a medium for understanding how to overcome this opposition. Paradoxicall...

Max Statkiewicz is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.52 inPublished:August 31, 2010Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271035412

ISBN - 13:9780271035413

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“This book is well written and largely avoids jargon. Topics discussed include the role of representation, the relationship between beauty and truth, and the question of discourse and its relationship to the world. This volume is suitable for both undergraduates and graduate students in philosophy, literature, and allied fields.”

—C. R. McCall, Choice