The Drama of Ideas: Platonic Provocations in Thetare and Philosophy
Book: The Drama of Ideas: Platonic Provocations in Thetare and Philosophy
Written by: Martin Puchner
Published by: Oxford University Press, 2010
Martin Puchner in his book ‘The Drama of Ideas: Platonic Provocations in Theatre and Philosophy’ examines the history of philosophy from a dramatic and theatrical perspective, exploring the intersection between philosophy, drama and theatre. Exploring the key term ‘dramatic platonism’ the book features a wide range of philosophers including George Kaiser, Kenneth Burke, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Luigi Pirandello, Bertolt Brecht, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, Kenneth Burke, Iris Murdoch, Martha Nussbaum, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, Socrates, and Plato.
In his analysis of Plato’s works, including his dialogues that mention Socrates’ trial and death, his text The Phaedo, which explores the concept of philosophers practising dying, Puchner offers a fresh perspective on Plato and Socrates in the first and second chapters. Puchner develops an image of Plato as a proto-modernist playwright. He lays out the basic principles of Platonic poetics, which he sets off against Aristotle’s views on theatre and dramatic poetry by focusing on the features of character, action, and drama’s relation to the audience.
Third chapter provides a framework for understanding the modern drama of ideas exploring the conjunction of drama and philosophy from the side of drama, showing how Plato’s original invention of a dramatic philosophy gave rise to the Socrates play and then to an important Platonic strain in modern drama (p.121). Chapter four and chapter five approach the conjunction of drama and philosophy from the side of philosophy; particularly connecting this dramatic philosophy back to Plato by attending to contemporary Platonists with an interest in drama.
“Instead of considering the theater as an art form in which the body reigns supreme, as is often done, dramatic Platonism describes the theater— whether imagined or real—as precisely the place where bodies come unhinged all the time” (p.194).The Drama of Ideas