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

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

byMarcus Folch

Hardcover | December 14, 2015

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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 envisionalternatives 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 ofPlato'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, inwhich 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 firsttime. 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. Awide-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.

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.

Details & Specs

Title:The City and the Stage: Performance, Genre, and Gender in Plato's LawsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 1.42 inPublished:December 14, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190266171

ISBN - 13:9780190266172

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Performance and the Second-Best CityAbstract1. Introduction2. An Ancient Quarrel Revisited3. The Laws, Its City, Its Scope4. Paradigmatism and the 'Second-Best' Politeia5. The Correct Method (orthi methodos) of Cultural Criticism6. ConclusionsNotes1. Marionettes of the Soul: Performance and the Psychology of Mousiki in Plato's LawsAbstract1.1 Introduction1.2 Theoretical Orientations: Performance, Performativity, Political Dissent1.3 Of Puppets and Passions: The Moral Psychology of Performance in Plato's Laws1.4 Virtue, Education, Aesthetic Response: A Model of Performativity1.5 Inscription and the Making of a Philosophical Performance Culture1.6 ConclusionsNotes2. The Chorus and the Critic: Literary Criticism, Theatrocracy, and the Performance of PhilosophyAbstract2.1 Introduction2.2 Critical Errors: Genre, Theatrocracy, and the Unideal City2.3 Setting the Stage: Pleasure, Judgment, and the Performance of Philosophy2.4 Beyond the Choral Muse: The Chorus of Dionysus and the Metaphysics of Literary Criticism2.5 ConclusionsNotes3. Laws' Genres: Hymns, Encomia, and the Remaking of LamentAbstract3.1 Th Introduction3.2 The Laws' Genres: Hymns, Encomia, and the Politics of Euphemia3.3 The Laws in Praise and Blame3.4 Funerary Regained3.5 ConclusionsNotes4. Unideal Genres and the Ideal City: Comedy, Tragedy, and the Limits of the City DancingAbstract4.1 Introduction4.2 Comedy, Threnody, and the Performance of Alterity4.3 From Antithesis to Identity: Comedic and Iambic Invective4.4 Plato's Tragic Muse4.5 Beyond the Politics of Performance: ta bakkheia and the Genres of Ecstasy4.6 ConclusionsNotes5. Women's Statuses in Plato's Laws: Nature, Gender, Law, and the Performance of CitizenshipAbstract5.1 Introduction5.2 'Natural' Heterosexuality5.3 Transgendered Virtues and the Social Contract5.4 Natural Correction: Feasting, Warfare, Schooling, and the 'Trope of Life' (tropos tou biou)5.5 Unnatural Limitations: The Political Lives of Women5.6 ConclusionsNotes6. Engendering Harmonies: Women's Songs in Plato's LawsAbstract6.1 Introduction6.2 Veils of Silence: Women, Theater, and Performance in Athens and Magnesia6.3 Performance, Performativity, and the Making of Citizen Women6.4 'Cultic Citizenship' Revisited: Lament and the Female Voice6.5 ConclusionsNotes

Editorial Reviews

"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 persuasivecorrelations between aesthetic, ethical and political concerns in Laws." --Judith Fletcher, Wilfrid Laurier University