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PersiusA Study in Food, Philosophy, and the Figural$
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Shadi Bartsch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226241845

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226241982.001.0001

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The Philosopher’s Love

The Philosopher’s Love

(p.96) Chapter Three The Philosopher’s Love

Shadi Bartsch

University of Chicago Press

What healthy vegetables and rich meatstuffs are to Persius’ metaphorical division of poetry into good and bad, friendship and sexuality are to his discussion of pedagogy as itself morally charged for better or worse. In Satire 4, Persius takes on and reformulates Plato’s Alcibiades I, in which Socrates’ seductive ways are shown as reforming Alcibiades and making him ready to study philosophy. This satire challenges that happy picture by bringing in the Symposium to show up Alcibiades as a pedagogic failure, and both sexuality and dialectic are criticized as ineffective elements in the Platonic depiction of teaching philosophy. Instead, Persius praises the inwardly turned gaze of the Stoic student and, in Satire 5, demonstrates through the figure of Cornutus the kind of teacher that should replace Socrates as an ideal.

Keywords:   Alcibiades, Cornutus, homosexuality, erastes, Symposium, Satire 4, Pericles, self-knowledge, pedagogy, pederasty

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