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Classics in the Modern WorldA Democratic Turn?$
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Lorna Hardwick and Stephen Harrison

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.001.0001

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Labour and the Classics

Labour and the Classics

Plato and Crossman in Dialogue

(p.62) (p.63) 5 Labour and the Classics
Classics in the Modern World

Michael Simpson

Oxford University Press

The broad question behind this chapter is: Did the collective classical hinterland behind some members of the Labour Movement in Britain bear on its progressive, democratic, even radical edge in the mid-twentieth century? The narrower, prosopographical question addressed by this chapter is: How did Richard Crossman’s popular writings and radio broadcasts on Plato and Socrates, especially his Plato Today, first published in 1937, play into such radicalism? The answer will expatiate on the book’s stated ambition of re-establishing democracy on a sounder conceptual and historical basis, against the looming spectres of fascism and communism. Observing that the book does so by arranging a collision between Plato and British democracy, which exposes the liabilities of both, the argument here is that the book projects an alternative, radical democracy that is at once socialist and Socratic, and fitted for war, then peace.

Keywords:   Richard Crossman, Plato Today, Socrates, Labour Movement, socialist

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