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Music and the MusesThe Culture of Mousike in the Classical Athenian City$
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Penelope Murray and Peter Wilson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199242399.001.0001

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Dirty Dancing: Xenophon’s Symposium

Dirty Dancing: Xenophon’s Symposium

Chapter:
(p.337) 12 Dirty Dancing: Xenophon’s Symposium
Source:
Music and the Muses
Author(s):

Victoria Wohl

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199242399.003.0013

This chapter centres on Xenophon's Symposium and the significance of dance within the dialogue. Beginning with a discussion of dancing, pleasure, and paideia in Plato's Laws, it suggests that Xenophon's text is concerned with the same philosophical issues surrounding mousike, mimesis, pleasure, and the good. The dialogue stages a competition between the pleasure of dance and the pleasure of philosophical discourse. But Socrates himself is figured as a dancer, an image which is explored within the context of two interconnected sympotic themes, paideia, and eros. The contest proves to be less straight-forward than might first appear, for the lascivious dance with which the dialogue ends threatens to undermine Socrates' earlier insistence on the superiority of ouranian pederastic eros.

Keywords:   Xenophon's Symposium, Plato's Laws, dance, mousike, paideia, eros

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