Harvey Yunis is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities and Classics at Rice University. He is the author of several books and many articles on ancient Greek rhetoric, political theory and the prose authors of fourth-century Greece, especially Plato. His most important previous publications include Taming Democracy: Models of Political Rhetoric in Classical Athens (1996), Demosthenes: On the Crown (Cambridge, 2001) and, as editor, Written Texts and the Rise of Literate Culture in Ancient Greece (2003).
Plato: Phaedrusby Plato, C. J. Rowe (Editor)
Phaedrus is widely recognized as one of Plato's most profound and beautiful works. It takes the form of a dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus and its ostensible subject is love, especially homoerotic love. Socrates reveals it to be a kind of divine madness that can allow our souls to grow wings and soar to their greatest heights. Then the conversation changes direction and turns to a discussion of rhetoric, which must be based on truth passionately sought, thus allying it to philosophy. The dialogue closes by denigrating the value of the written word in any context, compared to the living teaching of a Socratic philosopher. The shifts of topic and register have given rise to doubts about the unity of the dialogue, doubts which are addressed in the introduction to this volume. Full explanatory notes also elucidate issues throughout the dialogue that might puzzle a modern reader.
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