The making of a democratic symbol: The case of Socrates in North-American popular media, 1941-56

S. Sara Monoson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

How and why have particular figures from Greek antiquity occasionally become part of the modern popular vernacular? What is the role of the iconic figure as a means of remembering and remaking the classical past? This article considers these questions by way of one exemplary case study, the mobilizations of 'Socrates' for theatre and television audiences in North America in the early 1950s. I argue that during this period of acute political stress over issues of national security, Cold War orthodoxies and McCarthyism, creative artists developed distinctive interpretations of Socrates as oblique contributions to raging political controversies and in so doing helped inaugurate the widespread use of Socrates as a popular symbol of the ideals of democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-76
Number of pages31
JournalClassical Receptions Journal
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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