In this paper I discuss the changing literary depictions of "eros of education" in relation to male same-sex mentor-pupil relationships through an analysis of three works from three different periods: Plato's Symposium, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Alan Bennett's The History Boys. The contentious relationship between intimacy (both mental and sexual) and education is a major concern of this paper. Using Rene Girard's theory of triangular desire and a modified version of Girard's original triangle, I trace the development of male same-sex mentor-pupil relationships starting in fifth-century Athens. From Athens I follow the tradition of Platonic pedagogy into nineteenth-century Victorian England, and finally to modern academic depictions, here specifically Thatcherite England. Through a close analysis of each text, in relation to the key concepts paideia and paederasty within a homosocial environment, I conclude that ultimately, while the Platonic pedagogical model is still esteemed, as values and educational aims have changed, there is less and less of a place for it and there is an increasing desire to be distanced from it.
Prendergast, M. Teresa
Classical Studies; English
Grundtisch, Megan, "Plato Gone Wilde: An Analysis of Same-Sex, Mentor-Pupil Relations in Plato's Symposium, Oscar Wilde's the Picture of Dorian Gray, and Alan Bennett's the History Boys" (2009). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 36.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2009 Megan Grundtisch