Classics@22: Poetic (Mis)quotations in Plato

  Grewal, Gwenda-lin, ed. 2022. “Poetic (Mis)quotations in Plato.” Special issue, Classics@ 22.

Edited by Gwenda-lin Grewal

Many of Plato’s dialogues seem to contain (mis)quotations of poetry. Sometimes a word or words are altered; other times re-contextualizing shifts the original meaning of the quoted line or lines. But what constitutes “shifting,” especially when it comes to the oral tradition? One may begin innocently by asking: could Plato have mixed up lines accidentally? Was he aware of variants that were later lost? Or could there be some intentionality present in the changes?


Each of the contributions to this special volume of Classics@ in its own way suggests that Plato’s misquoting is somehow poetically philosophical, even and perhaps precisely when every word seems to have been rendered justly. Where words find their owners eluding them, one notices the strangeness of their apparitions, a reflection of that peculiar argument about learning that ties it to recollection, wherein one hears the foreign lines of a familiar song. Indeed, the perfection of quotability would be the death of truth-seeking, for then we could never dream of reality and would cease to listen.

— From the Introduction


Gwenda-lin Grewal, “Poetic (Mis)quotations in Plato: An Introduction.”

Nickolas Pappas, “The Lie: Becoming Dreams Being-Dreams of Becoming.”

Sonja Tanner, “Modulating Homer’s Voice: (Mis)Quotation in Plato’s Cratylus.

Leonard Muellner, “On Plato Not Misquoting Homer and What’s ‘New’ at Republic 424b–c.”

Douglas Frame, “The End of the Odyssey.”

Gregory Nagy, “Revisiting Plato’s Rhapsody: A contribution to a colloquium about Poetic (Mis)quotations in Plato.”

G. R. F. Ferrari, “The Doctor Is In … But Also Out: Machaon in Plato, Republic 3.405d-406a.”

Ronna Burger, “The God of Strangers: Plato’s Appropriation of Homer’s Odyssey in the Sophist.”

Gwenda-lin Grewal, “A Note on Plato’s Euthydemus 304b.”