2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Politics, Propaganda, and Poetry: Allen Ginsberg in Plato's Allegory of the Cave
Drew K. Turner
Dr. Patricia Burton, Faculty Mentor

In Plato's Republic, an exploration of personal and political governance, Plato takes a hard line against poetry and the mimetic arts in general. Plato deems certain poetic themes corrosive to the maturing soul and challenges poetry's epistemic worth, leading his reader to ponder poetry's ability to develop citizens with strong minds. This paper will explore poetry's ability to do just that by staging Plato's Allegory of the Cave in the America of 1959 as described by Allen Ginsberg in his Village Voice article, "Poetry, Violence, and Trembling Lambs;" a place and time when "systems of mass communication" communicated "only officially acceptable levels of reality," levels that Ginsberg's "poets" could not in good conscious ingest. This exploration will find that the critical, poetic mind is in fact the strong mind a citizen needs to view the intelligible order behind political propaganda.

Keywords: Plato, Republic, poetry, strong minds, Allen Ginsberg, propaganda

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 26-2
Location: VH 1424
Time: 10:00

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