Until now, the history of Alcibiades the Schoolboy in English began, and to all intents and purposes ended, on the back cover of another work of fiction with a similar theme, the Asbestos Diary by "Casimir Dukahz. The first time this little-known 17th century classic has appeared in English. In dialogue form, it is virtually a manual on how to seduce boys. Eglinton, in his introduction, maintains that is also a deadly parody of the Machiavellian doctrine of expediency. Our edition includes the original Italian text, and a bibliographical appendix by Warren Johansson. Regrettably, the book never appeared.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Alcibiades The Schoolboy by Antonio Rocco ,. Rawnsley Translator. The first time this little-known 17th century classic has appeared in English. In dialogue form, it is virtually a manual on how to seduce boys.
Eglinton, in his introduction, maintains that is also a deadly parody of the Machiavellian doctrine of expediency. Get A Copy. Published first published More Details Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Alcibiades The Schoolboy , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Alcibiades The Schoolboy. Lists with This Book.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 2. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Alcibiades The Schoolboy. Shelves: gay-fiction , gay-nonfiction. The work by Rocco is an amazing justification for initiating a sexual relationship between a adolescent boy and an older man, his teacher. It is told as a dialogue, in the Socratic sense, between the two.
The actual dialogue takes 30 of the books 68 pages, the rest an introduction by the translator Michael Hone which puts the work in historical context, both in and in ancient Greece. Many will be offended by this work and its discussion and consider it a justification of child abuse—es The work by Rocco is an amazing justification for initiating a sexual relationship between a adolescent boy and an older man, his teacher. Many will be offended by this work and its discussion and consider it a justification of child abuse—especially those lacking historical context and who cannot come to terms with human nature, Remember Traduttore traditore 7 of 10 stars, more for the discussion than the dialogue.
Jul 24, Edmund Marlowe rated it it was amazing. First published in and meant at one level as a lively carnival booklet, this is, both at heart and on the surface, a well-reasoned polemic in favour of pederasty. The eponymous Athenian boy is presumably intended to be the famous Athenian general well-known for the amorous attentions he excited in his boyhood, but the book is a philosophical dialogue rather than a story about real people: Alcibiades's schoolmaster Philotimes is dying to consummate his love for his pupil and has to overcome First published in and meant at one level as a lively carnival booklet, this is, both at heart and on the surface, a well-reasoned polemic in favour of pederasty.
The eponymous Athenian boy is presumably intended to be the famous Athenian general well-known for the amorous attentions he excited in his boyhood, but the book is a philosophical dialogue rather than a story about real people: Alcibiades's schoolmaster Philotimes is dying to consummate his love for his pupil and has to overcome with reason the full array of early modern arguments against sodomy raised by the initially reluctant boy, until the latter is finally eager to accept him.
There was a profound contradiction over pederasty in early modern Italy. On one hand, the authorities followed the church in denouncing and fiercely persecuting all sodomy. On the other hand, recent research such as Rocke's statistical study of Florentine court records in his Forbidden Friendships has proven the reports of contemporary writers that most men were involved with boys, and reinforced their implication that attraction to both women and boys was taken for granted whether or not acted on.
Rocco was the most important of a tiny number of writers who dared counter the various arguments of God, law and nature which were supposed to justify this persecution. Those of God and the law are shown to be irrational inventions and nature is shown to favour the love of men and boys and its consummation. Rocco, or rather Philotimes, then proceeds to show how both these things are superior to the alternatives. Lest it be supposed to be a sombre treatise, the fun should be explained too.
Mostly, I think it comes from the sheer joie de vivre underlying the dialogue. There is plenty of satire ranging from the unphilosophical over-excitement of the supposed philosopher to the outrageous excess of some of his arguments.
Also, the most serious arguments are so peppered with luscious descriptions of the boy's physical charms and frank sexual description as to be highly erotic. In this it offers a valuable lesson to modern writers on sexual matters whose dour vocabulary tends to be at odds with the joy which should be at the heart of their subject.
Considering all the old arguments against homosexuality have largely been abandoned in modern Europe, it is ironic that the only beneficiaries have been men loving men, described by Philotimes as "mere beasts" for their goatish tastes.
Rocco's own book remains nearly as forbidden as ever, this the only English translation published having become virtually unobtainable within a few years and the form of love it upholds newly persecuted with an intensity the mediaeval inquisition could only have dreamed of managing. Today a new Rocco is badly needed, for despite doing his best to answer all, Philotimes was unable to anticipate a day when the adolescent consent to sex he fought so hard and well to obtain would be held in contempt.
Nor could he foresee the perversity of an age which would see the sexual abuse of boys, which he fiercely denounced himself, as a justification for terrorising men and boys genuinely in love. An excellent "Afterword" shedding light on the book by D. Mader overstates an important point: he claims it is early evidence of the modern homosexual identity explained by Foucault as having emerged in the late 19th century.
Dialogues devoted to explaining why loving boys is better than loving women go back to antiquity, and are surely far removed from claiming an identity based on an immutable orientation.
Philotimes explains his preference for boys as based on reason and experience; his arguments would have had to be quite different if he thought he had no choice about it. Edmund Marlowe, author of Alexander's Choice, a modern story of pederastic love, www.
Sep 26, Rod Fleming rated it liked it. This is a fascinating read but many might find it disturbing. It purports to be a dialogue between Socrates, the teacher, and one of his students, Alcibiades. The subject is the former's seduction of the latter, which, at the end of the book, is successful. Through the text, the boy's - and society's - reservations, indeed repulsion towards the act is expressed, and on the other hand, Socrates' patient responses to them them.
This book represents a challenge in modern terms. Firstly, in the era i This is a fascinating read but many might find it disturbing. Firstly, in the era in which it is set, pederasty was institutionalised across Greece and completely unremarkable. Sir Kenneth Dover discussed this at great length. The concerns expressed in the MS about the morality of it are therefore anachronistic. The Ancient Greeks simply did not see this form of sex as being in any way taboo, but rather as a normal part of a boy's adolescence.
So any such dialogue was most unlikely to have occurred in reality. The terms of the relationship may well have been negotiated, in terms of the responsibilities and expectations of both parties, but the sex itself would have simply been assumed. However, it was actually written in , in Italian and far better reflects the sexual mores of that era and culture. In essence the book iterates a controversy that had raged in Italian society for centuries.
Put simply, this was a culture in which unmarried women were simply not sexually available, unless they were commercial sex workers. But these were notorious for being vectors for STDs as well as robbing their clients and worse. The earlier I Modi is instructive here too. On the other hand, boys publicly made themselves available for sex with older men.
They were on every street-corner. People today gloss over how prevalent pederasty was in the Renaissance. Most of the major Italian artists indulged in it; the best known are Leonardo, Michelangelo and Caravaggio of course, but others were hardly less enthusiastic, even if they were more circumspect. Artists have rarely been known for their monastic lifestyles even though several Renaissance ones were actually clerics and they took their pleasures where they might be found.
But it was officially taboo, because of religious injunction and in Florence, squads of men at arms were employed to forcibly examine males they encountered, seeking signs that they had been indulging. So in the context of the Post-Renaissance society in which this could at last actually be discussed, the text represents a dramatic attempt to do so. It could be read as a secular defence of human sexuality against suffocating Church proscriptions - which were generally ignored anyway - and as such, while less eloquent in delivery, falls in line with the works of De Sade.
In the modern context, it is of course, shocking, as it contravenes two social taboos: adult men seducing boys and teachers seducing their students generally. These have become untouchable sacred cows of Western culture, regarded as moral absolutes, even though they might appear to be little more than a modern expression of the usual USican sexual hypocrisy.
People today lose their careers, freedom and even their lives over 'transgressions' that fifty years ago would not have been considered questionable in the least; so much for 'progress'.
Since the latest publication of a translation that I can find dates to the s, the debate must have been at least somewhat less moribund at that time. The text is a dialogue, after Plato, in which the arguments are presented in a dialectic manner, call and response.
The translation is unfortunately pedestrian; one might imagine rather more passion appropriate. However, in the context of the late seventeenth century, a time when sexual debate was far more lively than today, and even that of its most recent republication date, it remains interesting. Perhaps more than anything, it sheds light on how narrow and stifling the debate about human sexuality has become, over the last few decades.
Front matter is interesting and seems well-researched, though I'd need to familiarize myself with more of the source material to be sure. Source information in the back of the book is also helpful.
Alcibiades the Schoolboy
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Alcibiades the Schoolboy (book)
Alcibiades the Schoolboy. Michael Hone. Due to the expense of the English version--when found--I decided to translate it myself from French, my second language, into English, my first. I've priced the book, as I do everything I write, at the lowest cost allowed by the publisher. Incredibly, Rocco was a priest, as well as a writer and an Aristotelian philosophy teacher.
Alcibiades The Schoolboy
Translated from the French by J C Rawnsley . One of the greatest and most entertaining treatises ever written on Greek love, and certainly the most important early modern one, L'Alcibiade fanciullo a scola was written about and first published in its original Italian in , but it did not appear in English until , when the Entimos Press published the following translation with footnotes by the late Oxford Professor J. This now very rare book is presented here with the kind permission of his literary executor. A short note about the Professor by one of his students is given at the end. An alternate English translation by Michael Hone, with a more modern, American flavour, has since been published. Reactions to the republication of the book in France in , albeit still in Italian, may be gathered from Rawnsley's rendering into English of the Preface to the French translation, The philosophers of old, when they taught literature, proceeded by inculcating in their pupils all their knowledge through the cleft of their buttocks.