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The philosophical dialogues of Plato, especially the Symposium and Phaedrus, have been enormously influential on modern gay writers. Same-sex eroticism is a frequent theme in the dialogues of Plato. References to pederastic attractions are often part of Plato's literary mise en scene, which frame the philosophical discussion at the heart of each dialogue. This chapter begins with the views of the historical Socrates. Socrates would play a privileged role in the reception of Greek philosophical ideas about eros in modern gay literature, but the figure celebrated in those later texts is the Platonic Socrates of the Symposium and Phaedrus. For Socrates, same-sex eroticism was just one context in which to explore human desire for the good; for Plato, it was consistently the starting point for such explorations. Xenophon, a younger contemporary of Plato, wrote a Socratic dialogue entitled Symposium, which aimed to correct the views expressed in Plato's dialogue of the same name.
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