By Victoria Wohl
Classical Athenian literature usually speaks of democratic politics in sexual phrases. voters are suggested to turn into enthusiasts of the polis, and politicians declare to be fanatics of the folks. Victoria Wohl argues that this used to be no useless metaphor. Exploring the intersection among eros and politics in democratic Athens, Wohl strains the non-public wants aroused via public ideology and the political results of voters' so much intimate longings. Love one of the Ruins analyzes the civic fantasies that lay underneath (but now not unavoidably parallel to) Athens's political ideology. It indicates how hope can disrupt politics and gives a deeper--at instances disturbing--insight into the democratic subconscious of old Athens.
The Athenians imagined the correct citizen as a noble and manly lover. yet this icon conceals a mess of alternative attainable figures: horny tyrants, powerful pathics, and seductive perverts. via serious re-readings of canonical texts, Wohl investigates those fantasies, which appear so antithetical to Athens's appear beliefs. She examines the interrelation of patriotism and narcissism, the trope of politics as prostitution, the elite suspicion of political excitement, and the prestige of perversion inside Athens's sexual and political norms. She additionally discusses the morbid force that propelled Athenian imperialism, in addition to democratic Athens's paradoxical fascination with the thrill of tyranny.
Drawing on modern serious idea in unique methods, Wohl sketches the connection among citizen psyche and political lifestyles to light up the advanced, usually contradictory passions that constitution democracy, historical and smooth.
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Extra resources for Love among the Ruins: The Erotics of Democracy in Classical Athens
The imaginary I trace is predominantly textual and therefore closer in some ways to the Lacanian symbolic. Further, because fantasy is an enactment of wish fulﬁllment, the imaginary will often ﬁgure as a space of unconscious desire (another feature of the symbolic in Lacanian theory). 210–11, 314–19. Compare Berlant’s notion of the “National Symbolic,” by which she means some- 26 INTRODUCTION “ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence,”50 Zˇizˇek argues that “the fundamental level of ideology .
51 Ideology, in Althusser’s model, reproduces itself through the constitution of subjects, whom it hails into being as subjects in and subject to ideology. The individual must answer ideology’s call if he or she is to be a legitimate subject, but that assent takes place not at the conscious level but at the level of unconscious fantasy. Fantasy transforms ideology—a contingent and artiﬁcial, “ﬁctional,” set of social arrangements—into reality and grants it its material force. 52 For the subject (as Silverman stresses),53 this ideological fantasy is reality, and ideological struggle is the struggle to deﬁne a society’s reality through the medium of fantasy, by arousing and directing the communal libido.
Assume as your own their virtue and bravery, for only in this way will you preserve the greatness of the city that assures the greatness of its citizens. The circularity in the logic points to the stakes in the speech: if the glory of Athens and its citizens depends upon the valorous death of its soldiers, then it is only by his willingness to die that the individual can partake in that glory. In other words, he can truly become an Athenian citizen only by dying for Athens. This paradox speaks to both the ﬁctionality and the impossibility of the Idealich.