Socrates in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Socrates in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

1st Edition

Edited by Michael Trapp


258 pages

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Hardback: 9780754641230
pub: 2007-06-28
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Socrates, son of Sophroniscus, of Alopece is arguably the most richly and diversely commemorated - and appropriated - of all ancient thinkers. Already in Antiquity, vigorous controversy over his significance and value ensured a wide range of conflicting representations. He then became available to the medieval, renaissance and modern worlds in a provocative variety of roles: as paradigmatic philosopher and representative (for good or ill) of ancient philosophical culture in general; as practitioner of a distinctive philosophical method, and a distinctive philosophical lifestyle; as the ostensible originator of startling doctrines about politics and sex; as martyr (the victim of the most extreme of all miscarriages of justice); as possessor of an extraordinary, and extraordinarily significant physical appearance; and as the archetype of the hen-pecked intellectual. To this day, he continues to be the most readily recognized of ancient philosophers, as much in popular as in academic culture. This volume, along with its companion, Socrates from Antiquity to the Enlightenment, aims to do full justice to the source material (philosophical, literary, artistic, political), and to the range of interpretative issues it raises. It opens with an Introduction summarizing the reception of Socrates up to 1800, and describing scholarly study since then. This is followed by sections on the hugely influential Socrateses of Hegel, Kirkegaard and Nietzsche; representations of Socrates (particularly his erotic teaching) principally inspired by Plato's Symposium; and political manipulations of Socratic material, especially in the 20th century. A distinctive feature is the inclusion of Cold War Socrateses, both capitalist and communist.


’The contributors display prodigious scholarship as they explore such themes as Socratic irony, homoeroticism, and the poltical art. All of the essays are informative and interesting…Recommended.’ Choice

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, Judith Herrin and Michael Trapp; Introduction: the 19th- and 20th-century Socrates, Michael Trapp; Socrates in Hegel, Glenn W. Most; A simple wise man of ancient times: Kierkgaard on Socrates, George Pattison; Nietzsche's Socrateases, Michael Silk; Later views of the Socrates of Plato's Symposium, James Lesher; Anselm Feuerbach's Das Gastmahl des Platon, John Henderson; From amor Socraticus to Socrates amoris: Socrates and the formation of a sexual identity in late Victorian Britain, Alistair Blanshard; The thorn of Sokrates: Georg Kaiser's Alkibiades Saved and Berthold Brecht's Sokrates Wounded, John White; 'Socrates knew…' affect (Besetzung) in Britten's Death in Venice, Christopher Wintle; Effacing Socratic irony: philosophy and technê in John Stuart Mill's translation of the Protagoras, Alexandra Lianeri; Totalitarian Socrates, Iskra Gencheva-Mikami; 'Gadfly in God's own country': Socrates in 20th-century America, Melissa Lane; General bibliography; Index.

About the Editor

Michael Trapp is Professor of Greek Literature and Thought in the Department of Classics, King's College London, UK.

About the Series

Publications of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College London

Publications of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College London

Initiated in 1993 as an extension of the activities of the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King's College London, this series covers all aspects of Greek culture and civilization. The volumes published to date present a broad range of topics from ancient to modern, including the papers of several international symposia held at KCL. Titles deal with the history and image of Alexandria, the image of Socrates across the centuries, the early years of El Greco, the making of Modern Greece, Greek-Turkish relations in modern times, and the history of Greek photography. Volumes recently published or in preparation cover the reign of the 12th-century Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos, the politics behind Lord Byron’s intervention in the Greek Revolution in the 1820s and Greek art music since the early 19th century.

For further information about the series please contact Michael Greenwood at


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General