Mar 1, 2021Liked by Felicia Davin

I am fascinated by the character Alcibiades. It's interesting to see how he may have been viewed in the 18th and 19th centuries, but if you want to know a bit more, you should (you must!) read Plato's "Symposium". You may know that this dialogue is composed largely of a series of speeches in praise of the "God" Eros. (I put God in quotation marks because one of the issues is whether or not he is in fact a god.) Most of the speakers are homosexual/bisexual men, and in several instances there lovers are present. (Understanding the unstated motivation of the speakers is a fun part of the interpretation. There's a good bit of flirtation going on.) Towards the end of the dialogue, Alcibiades breaks in, drunk and uninvited, but beautiful and charismatic and not to be deterred (Eros personified?), and gives a speech in "praise" of Socrates, a man who has been publicly flirting with him since he was a teenager. I'd say it's one of the great pieces of literature of all times! And any attempt to plumb the depths of this strange and wonderful character has to start here.

Of course, one would then need to explore if and how the "Symposium" was read (by scholars, by intellectuals, by homosexuals) in the 19th century, but I'll leave that to you.

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