sappho’s love poetry.

sappho’s love poetry.

First read AW:R 6.1 and sappho’s love poetry under ‘archaic poetry’ and keep them in mind when you turn to the next, longer reading.

The philosopher Plato wrote a series of dialogues featuring his teacher Socrates, legendary Athenian thinker, radical, and social gadfly. His Symposium purports to record conversations from a(n imaginary) drinking party at which Socrates was the featured guest (‘supplemental readings’>’symposium’>Plato’s symposium). As often happens when wine is involved, the topic turned to sex and love, with each participant waxing eloquently on the origins and meaning of lust and attraction. I’ll sort some of this out in lecture — in particular the institution of pederasty — but in advance, try to disentangle Plato’s fantasies from more plausible Greek attitudes toward sex and sexuality. For example, there’s no evidence that anyone else accepted Aristophanes’ entertaining (alleged) analysis of sexual preference, but what Socrates has to say about what sort of love/lust is ideal does dovetail with much of what we’ve read in heroic poetry so far. Think openly about Athenian views on sexuality, keeping in mind that it’s very very different from modern American definitions, even as universal as we assume the latter to be. This is a long text, so give yourself enough time to read it, but it’s also okay if you skim a couple of the participants’ accounts.