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David Foster Wallace as philosopher-dramatist
Jeffrey Severs

Socrates and his speeches and gestures, to diverse purposes. Puchner claims dramatic Platonism as the source of modernist theatre's radical innovations, while also challenging Bakhtin's much-used theories of novelistic dialogism in ways that I apply to understanding dialogue in Wallace's work. Wallace, I suggest throughout, fits into the broad, very long tradition Puchner identifies of writers who draw upon Plato's ancient techniques of philosophical theatre and theatrical philosophy without necessarily endorsing Platonic conclusions about metaphysics

in Reading David Foster Wallace between philosophy and literature
Socrates and free speech
Neville Morley

One recurring motif in recent claims about the illiberal cultures of universities has been the deployment of the figure of Socrates, the fifth-century BCE Athenian philosopher. ‘From Socrates to Salman Rushdie, heretical figures have been persecuted by powerful authorities, whether by the church or the state’, proclaimed the blurb for a discussion of ‘The Dangerous Rise of Academic Mobbing’, featuring Professor Nigel Biggar, as part of a UK Battle of Ideas Festival in October 2019. In his account of ‘academic mobbing’, including his own experience, the

in The free speech wars
Open Access (free)
Essays on Modern American Literature

Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm from Emerson's writing in Nature. 'Enthusiasm', in Emerson, is a knowing word. Sometimes its use is as description, invariably approving, of a historic form of religious experience. Socrates' meaning of enthusiasm, and the image of the enthusiast it throws up, is crucial to this book. The book is a portrait of the writer as an enthusiast, where the portrait, as will become clear, carries more than a hint of polemic. It is about the transmission of literature, showing various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within in their writing or in their cultural activism. Henry David Thoreau's Walden is an enthusiastic book. It is where enthusiasm works both in Immanuel Kant's sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn's sense of the 'nearer' testament, and in Thoreau's own sense of supernatural serenity. Establishing Ezra Pound's enthusiasm is a fraught and complicated business. Marianne Moore composed poems patiently, sometimes over several years. She is a poet of things, as isolated things - jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant - are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. Homage to Frank O'Hara is a necessary book, because the sum of his aesthetic was to be found not just in his writing, but also in his actions to which only friends and contemporaries could testify. An enthusiastic reading of James Schuyler brings to the fore pleasure, the sheer pleasure that can come of combining, or mouthing, or transcribing.

Andrew Bennett

We are ignorant. We are born into and remain in ignorance: this is what we know. And this knowledge of our ignorance is what it means to be human. Socrates, the indigent, know-nothing philosopher who nevertheless promulgated even if he did not invent the oracular dictum ‘know thyself’, also knows that to be human is not to know. 1 To be human, to have a ‘soul’, as Socrates has it in the Phaedo , is to be confined within the prison of the body and thereby to ‘wallow’ in the ‘mire of every sort of ignorance’ – from which it is philosophy

in Ignorance
Abstract only
John Kinsella

PART II Where we are MAD0339_KINSELLA_v2.indd 89 05/12/2016 11:10 MAD0339_KINSELLA_v2.indd 90 05/12/2016 11:10 A POLYSITUATED MANIFEST (WITH AN INCOMPLETE CIRCLE ‘O’), ON JACK DAVIS,TENNYSON AND SOCRATES 1. (a) All places we have been part of, visited and received (via family stories, our reading, what we watch on television and film) are part of our sense of place. Place is not just where we are, but where we have been and where we can perceive ourselves as having been, or imagine ourselves being. Place is polyvalent and ever-increasing in its nodal

in Polysituatedness
Open Access (free)
Rex Martin

in their own country. The issue I want to discuss in this chapter is whether people do in fact have good and justifiable reasons for complying with laws that go beyond mere fear of punishment, and, if so, whether they are bound or obligated by those reasons to comply. 1 One main argument for a duty to obey the law: consent Socrates had to decide whether to

in Political concepts
Mark Garnett

presentation, is what matters in political speeches. Benn’s argument has an excellent pedigree, stretching back at least to Socrates’ complaints about the Athenian Sophists. In the terms deployed in this volume, it is a claim based on the notion that logos is the only legitimate tool of persuasion. But the obvious rejoinder to Benn (and Socrates) is that facts cannot speak for themselves. Benn’s critics, indeed, thought that he was not merely an orator but an exponent of a pernicious approach to public speaking, using the usual range of rhetorical devices for mischievous

in Labour orators from Bevan to Miliband
Abstract only
From the axe to giving birth
Nicholas Royle

have never known them’ (21). And then at the same time writing is giving birth, bringing into the light of night innumerable newcomers time after time. Cixous keeps paper and pen by her bed, and not yet awake, a birth is in the offing: ‘Sometimes the child is the size of a leaf and it crumbles to pieces. Sometimes it is just a small piece of paper you put on the bed that is suddenly lost. You do not know whether it is the child who faded or whether it is you who forgot the child’ (74). / In Plato’s Theaetetus , Socrates refers to himself as ‘the

in Hélène Cixous
Abstract only

The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.

Open Access (free)
Christoph Menke in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers

This book focuses on the paradoxical character of law and specifically concerns the structural violence of law as the political imposition of normative order onto a "lawless" condition. The paradox of law which grounds and motivates Christoph Menke's intervention is that law is both the opposite of violence and, at the same time, a form of violence. The book develops its engagement with the paradox of law in two stages. The first shows why, and in what precise sense, the law is irreducibly characterized by structural violence. The second explores the possibility of law becoming self-reflectively aware of its own violence and, hence, of the form of a self-critique of law in view of its own violence. The Book's philosophical claims are developed through analyses of works of drama: two classical tragedies in the first part and two modern dramas in the second part. It attempts to illuminate the paradoxical nature of law by way of a philosophical interpretation of literature. There are at least two normative orders within the European ethical horizon that should be called "legal orders" even though they forego the use of coercion and are thus potentially nonviolent. These are international law and Jewish law. Understanding the relationship between law and violence is one of the most urgent challenges a postmodern critical legal theory faces today. Self-reflection, the philosophical concept that plays a key role in the essay, stands opposed to all forms of spontaneity.