The Charioteer’s Circuit: Plato’s Self-Moving Myth in Late Antique Text Networks and Beyond


ACLS Fellowship Program


Classical Studies


“The Charioteer’s Circuit” investigates the reception of Plato’s “Phaedrus,” and especially the famous myth of the soul, from late antiquity to the Renaissance, tracing the phenomenon of this text’s migration into exegetical traditions and languages far removed from the original site of Plato’s dialogue. The study relies on the core idea of the text network. How might a text itself be understood as an agent of its own migration? Such a question cannot entirely neglect the human writer, but it situates relationships among texts by valorizing the work done by the narrative itself. Recent work on text networks focuses on the trajectory of a text that makes its home as an immigrant among foreign tongues. Plato’s text becomes an allegory for the soul, the self-mover wandering through cycles of birth and death. The myth becomes corporeal, takes on a presence in space and time, and assumes a diffuse, variegated voicing.