Perspectives on Plato’s Symposium

Perspectives on Plato’s Symposium

Symposium Conference‘Perspectives on Plato’s Symposium‘: Issues in Interpretation and Reception

August 16-18, 2005
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Plato’s Symposium occupies a special place in Western thought. Not only is it an acknowledged classic of ancient Greek philosophy and literature, it is also one of the most influential works ever created. From the time of Plotinus in the third century of the common era down to the present day, philosophers, poets, and artists have drawn inspiration from the dialogue and adapted its various  features to new uses.

The theory of Erôs or ‘passionate desire’ presented in the dialogue is still of great philosophical interest in its own right and it has sparked responses from thinkers as distant from one another as Plotinus, Marsilio Ficino, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Thomas Mann, Virginia Woolf, Sigmund Freud, and Gregory Vlastos. Nevertheless, despite the enormous amount of attention devoted to the dialogue over many centuries, numerous questions remain concerning the meaning of specific passages, the significance of the dialogue as a whole, and the nature of its influence on later writers and artists

This conference brought together an international team of scholars to address   questions relating to the Symposium and its reception in later centuries.

The volume that resulted from the conference, entitled  Plato’s Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception, is available now at Harvard University Press.

The papers presented at the conference will soon be offered by the Center in an Online Publication.