The Odyssey of Political Theory: The Politics of Departure and Return

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April 2003



This important book offers readers original insights into The Odyssey, and it provides a new understanding of the classic works of Plato, Rousseau, Vico, Horkheimer, and Adorno.


Chapter 1 Introduction: Between Oikos and Cosmos Chapter 2 Odysseus's Choice Chapter 3 Resolving the Ancient Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy: Plato's Odyssey Chapter 4 The Harrowing of Rousseau's Emile Chapter 5 Escaping the Dialectic: Vico, The Frankfurt School and the Dialectic of Enlightenment Chapter 6 Against Cosmoploitanism: Resisting the Siren's Song


Patrick J. Deneen is assistant professor of political science at Princeton University.


Deneen brings political philosophy to bear on academic controversy in a manner that elevates the discussion. A must for all interested in higher learning and its blessings as well as its pitfalls. Highly recommended for graduate students, scholars, and teachers. CHOICE This is a book of quiet brilliance. In Deneen's well-woven tale, the afterlife of Odysseus in the classics of political theory becomes an avenue into the heart of contemporary debate about our deepest roots and our highest aspirations. When all is said and done, one of the most compelling voices in this debate turns out to be Deneen's. Like the Homeric original, his is an odyssey that moves inward, toward self-knowledge. -- Jacob Howland, University of Tulsa After Deneen's account it will be hard ever to return to viewing The Odyssey as apolitical. For the classical world, Deneen reveals why Plato's Socrates replaced the warrior Achilles with the founder Odysseus-an epochal transformation. For today's world, Deneen's Odyssey speaks tellingly to major tensions between self and community, particularity and universality, place and peregrination, the mastery of and integration with nature. All this in a book at once serious and engrossing. -- Norma Thompson, Yale University Patrick Deneen wonderfully uses the figure of Odysseus-as he appears in Plato, Rousseau, Adorno, and Horkheimer, as well as in Homer-to trace a middle course between the stridencies of (some) postmodern multiculturalists and (some) defenders of the supposed absolute verities of the canon. It is an enlightening and an enlightened odyssey through and in political theory and a journey well worth taking with him. -- Tracy B. Strong, University of California, San Diego The Odyssey of Political Theory is based on a powerful idea, which, once articulated, seems so obvious that one wonders that the book was only just written. The tradition of the West begins with Homer, in whose Odysseus the human problem at the heart of poltical theory is embodied. For Patrick Deneen understanding Odysseus means understanding a cluster of dualisms: politics vs. philosophy, particular vs. universal, poetry vs. philosophy, myth vs. enlightenment, convention vs. nature. For this reason, understanding Odysseus has preoccupied thinkers as various as Plato, Rousseau, Vico, Adorno, and Horkheimer. By way of Odysseus, The Odyssey of Political Theory inquires at once into the essence of poltical theory and into the history of how that essence has been understood; it is an intelligent, elegantly written, and yet altogether unpretentious book. -- Michael Davis, Sarah Lawrence College This elegant study subtly unpacks for us the astonishing richness of Homer's Odyssey, reminding us that the great books are great precisely because they never cease to cast new light on the mysteries of human existence. Deneen shows us why the tale of Odysseus the polytropos has had such inexhaustible fascination for a steady stream of interpreters, from Plato to Adorno-and why it has fresh urgency for us today. -- Wilfred M. McClay, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga [Deneen's] imaginative work offers something for historians, classicists, and political theorists alike, and provides a compelling demonstration of the enduring 'relevance' of an ancient myth which he claims the more ignorant amongst post-modern theorists have tried to remove from American universities altogether. Political Studies Review Deneen's book is exeptional both in its command of the scholarly literature and in its philosophical sensitivity. Anyone who doubts the greatness of Homer's Odyssey should read Deneen's book and report back. Unlike much political theory, it never hectors, badges, or insists. It is just elegantly persuasive and completely compelling. Polis The great benefit of Deneen's book is the way in which it inspires a reader to return to the original texts. The Review Of Politics This is a brilliant essay, traversing a vast intellectual space with admirable ease and fairness. Modern Age It is a well-crafted and rewarding study... Deneen's book is an elegant study strongly recommended for anyone interested in the historical reception of Odysseus. Political Theory
EAN: 9780847696239
ISBN: 0847696235
Untertitel: Revised. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2003
Seitenanzahl: 288 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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