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Essays on Modern American Literature

Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm from Emerson's writing in Nature. 'Enthusiasm', in Emerson, is a knowing word. Sometimes its use is as description, invariably approving, of a historic form of religious experience. Socrates' meaning of enthusiasm, and the image of the enthusiast it throws up, is crucial to this book. The book is a portrait of the writer as an enthusiast, where the portrait, as will become clear, carries more than a hint of polemic. It is about the transmission of literature, showing various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within in their writing or in their cultural activism. Henry David Thoreau's Walden is an enthusiastic book. It is where enthusiasm works both in Immanuel Kant's sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn's sense of the 'nearer' testament, and in Thoreau's own sense of supernatural serenity. Establishing Ezra Pound's enthusiasm is a fraught and complicated business. Marianne Moore composed poems patiently, sometimes over several years. She is a poet of things, as isolated things - jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant - are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. Homage to Frank O'Hara is a necessary book, because the sum of his aesthetic was to be found not just in his writing, but also in his actions to which only friends and contemporaries could testify. An enthusiastic reading of James Schuyler brings to the fore pleasure, the sheer pleasure that can come of combining, or mouthing, or transcribing.

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Rex Martin

in their own country. The issue I want to discuss in this chapter is whether people do in fact have good and justifiable reasons for complying with laws that go beyond mere fear of punishment, and, if so, whether they are bound or obligated by those reasons to comply. 1 One main argument for a duty to obey the law: consent Socrates had to decide whether to

in Political concepts
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Terrell Carver

’ actually recounts dramatic yet conversational interchanges between Socrates (as a character) and other named male individuals, and the build-up given by Socrates to the introduction of such a controversial topic is considerable. He assumes that his audience will find the idea of female warriors and rulers ridiculous and absurd, which indeed they do (449a–457b). This episode in political theory has been notorious, rather

in Political concepts
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Christoph Menke in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers

This book focuses on the paradoxical character of law and specifically concerns the structural violence of law as the political imposition of normative order onto a "lawless" condition. The paradox of law which grounds and motivates Christoph Menke's intervention is that law is both the opposite of violence and, at the same time, a form of violence. The book develops its engagement with the paradox of law in two stages. The first shows why, and in what precise sense, the law is irreducibly characterized by structural violence. The second explores the possibility of law becoming self-reflectively aware of its own violence and, hence, of the form of a self-critique of law in view of its own violence. The Book's philosophical claims are developed through analyses of works of drama: two classical tragedies in the first part and two modern dramas in the second part. It attempts to illuminate the paradoxical nature of law by way of a philosophical interpretation of literature. There are at least two normative orders within the European ethical horizon that should be called "legal orders" even though they forego the use of coercion and are thus potentially nonviolent. These are international law and Jewish law. Understanding the relationship between law and violence is one of the most urgent challenges a postmodern critical legal theory faces today. Self-reflection, the philosophical concept that plays a key role in the essay, stands opposed to all forms of spontaneity.

Thomas Docherty

Phèdre tells Socrates to look at a young dancer: ‘Look at her fluttering! You’d say that the dance comes out of her like a flame’, to which Socrates replies: What is a flame, my friends, if it is not the moment itself ?. . . Flame is the act of that moment between earth and sky. My friends, all that passes from a heavy to a subtle state passes through the moment of fire and light . . . Certainly the unique and perpetual object of the soul is that which does not exist; that which was, and which is no more; – that which will be and which is not yet; – that which is

in The new aestheticism
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Joseph Jaconelli

Joseph Jaconelli 1 What is a trial? Joseph Jaconelli I Three questions To pose the question, ‘What is a trial?’, is to invite an answer which aims to transcend particular times, places and cultures. It is to suggest that, stripped of the rules that are peculiar to particular legal systems, those processes that are properly called ‘trials’ contain some inner essence. It is to claim that the proceedings against Socrates under Athenian law in 399 bc and those brought against Jesus in ad 30 under Jewish and Roman legal procedures have features in common with the

in Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200–1700
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Mads Qvortrup

lessons of my masters, with Plato and Socrates for my judges, and the whole of the human race for audience. (III: 135) This little book is an attempt to re-open a dialogue with the classics. It attempts not only to see the masters in context – as has become popular among modern thinkers – but rather to seek inspiration from the great minds to deal with contemporary political problems. Rousseau – and indeed any other classic – is politically relevant only if he reveals timeless insights. If a classic cannot inspire he is nothing, and is better confined to the dustbin of

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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A short essay on enthusia
David Herd

enthusiasm, as his essay on ‘Inspiration’ indicates, begins, quite properly, with Plato – the Ion, as commentators observe, being the locus classicus of discussions of enthusiasm.7 In this short early dialogue, Socrates is in discussion with the rhapsode ‘Ion’; a rhapsode being a reciter of, chiefly epic, poetry, who in the course of the performance would also sometimes offer commentary upon it. The dialogue centres on the question of enthusiasm, or inspiration, throughout, and is important not least because in it Socrates formulates one of the major tropes of enthusiasm

in Enthusiast!
Reflections on Menke’s ‘Law and violence’
Alessandro Ferrara

have been true that the existence of law within borders has implied the lack of any normativity whatsoever affecting relations across borders. Likewise, in the section on “Manifest violence,” Menke asks us to take at face value two claims that in the fourth century BC had already been questioned by Plato. One is the thesis, put forward by Athena in Eumenides, that justice or the authoritativeness of the law is bound up with fear –​the same point raised by Glaucon in Book II of The Republic through his myth of Gyges’ ring and to whom Socrates replies by showing the

in Law and violence
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Kevin Harrison
Tony Boyd

system. Plato’s Republic was the first and most important attempt to define justice and what constitutes a just society. Most political philosophy over the past 2500 years has involved discussing the issue of justice raised by Plato in his work, which takes the form of a dialogue between Plato’s friend and teacher Socrates and a number of other philosophers. Several ideas of justice are identified

in Understanding political ideas and movements