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Love among the Ruins : The Erotics of Democracy in Classical Athens - Victoria Wohl

Love among the Ruins

The Erotics of Democracy in Classical Athens

Hardcover Published: 15th December 2002
ISBN: 9780691095226
Number Of Pages: 336

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Classical Athenian literature often speaks of democratic politics in sexual terms. Citizens are urged to become lovers of the polis, and politicians claim to be lovers of the people. Victoria Wohl argues that this was no dead metaphor. Exploring the intersection between eros and politics in democratic Athens, Wohl traces the private desires aroused by public ideology and the political consequences of citizens' most intimate longings. "Love among the Ruins" analyzes the civic fantasies that lay beneath (but not necessarily parallel to) Athens's political ideology. It shows how desire can disrupt politics and provides a deeper--at times disturbing--insight into the democratic unconscious of ancient Athens.

The Athenians imagined the perfect citizen as a noble and manly lover. But this icon conceals a multitude of other possible figures: sexy tyrants, potent pathics, and seductive perverts. Through critical re-readings of canonical texts, Wohl investigates these fantasies, which seem so antithetical to Athens's manifest ideals. She examines the interrelation of patriotism and narcissism, the trope of politics as prostitution, the elite suspicion of political pleasure, and the status of perversion within Athens's sexual and political norms. She also discusses the morbid drive that propelled Athenian imperialism, as well as democratic Athens's paradoxical fascination with the joys of tyranny.

Drawing on contemporary critical theory in original ways, Wohl sketches the relationship between citizen psyche and political life to illuminate the complex, frequently contradictory passions that structure democracy, ancient and modern.

Industry Reviews

"[Wohl's] results are never less than provocative."--Stephen Halliwell, Times Literary Supplement "A fascinating, thought-provoking book that takes time to absorb."--Peter Krentz, Religious Studies Review

Introduction: Ideological Desirep. 1
Pericles' Loversp. 30
The Idealp. 32
The Loverp. 41
The Lovep. 55
The Belovedp. 62
Pornos of the Peoplep. 73
Parodic Periclesp. 73
Politics of the Open Mouthp. 80
Cleon's Turnp. 92
King Demosp. 105
Perverse Desire: The Eros of Alcibiadesp. 124
Theories of Perversionp. 124
Paranomiap. 129
Demerastiap. 144
Socrates' Boyfriendp. 158
The Erotics of Empirep. 171
Hard on Empirep. 174
Duseros ton apontonp. 188
Working through the Symptomp. 203
What Does the Tyrant Want?p. 215
Hipparchus's Hermsp. 215
Desire of the Otherp. 224
Tyrannical Ecstasyp. 236
All or Nothingp. 249
The Tyrant's Lack and Democratic Fantasyp. 260
Conclusionp. 270
Bibliographyp. 285
Index Locorump. 313
General Indexp. 321
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691095226
ISBN-10: 0691095221
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 15th December 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.65