Studies on the Reception of Plato and Greek Political Thought in Victorian Britain: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Studies on the Reception of Plato and Greek Political Thought in Victorian Britain

1st Edition

By Kyriakos Demetriou


294 pages

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Hardback: 9781409420514
pub: 2011-02-28

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This collection of essays focuses on the reception of Plato and Greek political thought in the work of some major (pre)Victorian classical scholars and expands on a remarkable range of hotly debated issues on the interpretation of Greek antiquity. The central figure in this volume is the radical philosopher, utilitarian, and Platonist George Grote, whose works on the history of Greece and Plato moved away from traditional models of classical interpretation. His works and their background are critically explored in light of his philosophical commitment and political radicalism. Article IV brings to light a forgotten manuscript by Grote, "On the Character of Socrates," produced in the 1820s. Grote sought to counter the current literature on ancient Greece and its predominant motifs, which is here examined in its own right along with an independent study on Bishop Connop Thirlwall's influential History of Greece. The second half of this volume is devoted to analyzing important aspects of the revival of Platonic studies in the ideological and discursive context of early and middle Victorian times. This collection of essays presents comprehensive and illuminating contextual analyses of nineteenth-century works on classical reception, providing simultaneously a rich bibliographic guide to further research.


'Demetriou’s essays provide a most useful and nuanced guide to the understanding of the reception and uses made of Plato, Platonisms� and Greek History in 19th century Britain… This volume provides an excellent overview of Plato and the Greeks in Victorian Britain, with close attention to detail, especially in light of the still prevalent preponderance of clichés about Plato and Platonism… This is a most useful collection.' International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 'Demetriou […] portrays not only the contributions made by Grote to Platonic studies in the nineteenth century but also the changing landscape of Platonic interpretation across the whole of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth… indeed the most valuable feature of this volume is the author’s analysis of Victorian Platonism and the central role played by Grote’s Plato in the shaping of this tradition.' Victorian Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I The History of Ancient Greece: In defence of the British constitution: theoretical implications of the debate over Athenian democracy in Britain, 1770-1850; Bishop Connop Thirlwall: historian of ancient Greece; Victorian classicists and modern Greece: a critical commentary on periodical sources. Part II Platonic Studies: Grote on Socrates: an unpublished essay of the 1820s in its context; The development of Platonic studies in Britain and the role of the utilitarians; George Grote and the Platonic revival in Victorian Britain; Socratic dialect and the exaltation of individuality: J.S. Mill's influence on G. Grote's Platonic interpretation; The revival of a legend: the debate over Plato in 19th-century Britain; The sophists, democracy, and modern interpretation; Supplementary bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Kyriakos Demetriou, University of Cyprus, Cyprus

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General