The League Book Club
In keeping with Mr. Kain’s suggestion for more interaction at this party (less sitting in the corner of the room, glumly sipping a whiskey sour) and pivoting off of Mr. Schaengold’s great post about eros and tragedy, I’d like to suggest that we meet up here next Wednesday to discuss Plato’s Symposium.
Several people have suggested the book club idea and my feeling is that it would be best done in tandem with what I’m already doing. I don’t feel comfortable asking everyone to have read all of Thucydides by next week! But I do think that there are plenty of books that would be great fun to read together. So, I’d like to start alternating between texts where I’ll “go it alone”, so to speak, and book discussions. With any luck, publishers will start putting stickers on the books we discuss, like they do for Oprah!
Okay, so the Symposium is a text dealing with love and eros. Plato has two other dialogues on the erotic: Lysis and Phaedrus, which are good too. (I had planned to do all of the Platonic dialogues together, but I think the book club idea is probably better.) An interesting source on courtesans and boy favorites is Athenaeus.
As for translations, I like the Loeb Classical Library edition. As usual, I’d recommend the Penguin Classics edition, mainly for the introductory essay. And Leo Strauss did an interesting study of the Symposium. Online, I’d recommend the Internet Classics Archive “Symposium”. There is also the Project Gutenberg translation. I’d be amazed if there isn’t a version accessible by Google Books.
My plan, to the extent that I have one, is to post discussion questions on Wednesday in lieu of a long post about my own thoughts, and then we could discuss the text together. Ritual wine drinking is optional.