2021-04Discussion Papers, Comments, Book Reviews
From Platonism and the Farnese Hercules to Steve Reeves and the Peplum Hercules via a Radical Ohio Hegelian and his Socialist German Acrobats


In Jane Campion’s recent film version of Thomas Savage’s Power of the Dog, young Peter comes across his, and his mother’s tormentor, Phil’s secret hiding place. There he discovers in a lean-to the cowboy homophobic Phil’s copies of Physical Culture. As he leafs through the magazines, he sees the famous pictures of Eugen Sandow and his fig leaf posed as the Farnese Hercules. The scene does not appear in Savage’s novel. Flash backward or forwards a few years depending on whether you place Peter and Phil in 1925 or 2021 and you have Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-n-Furter belting out the invitation to guests to “take in an old Steve Reeves movie” in the introductory musical number “Sweet Transvestite” in the musical extravaganza The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

How to cite:

McLachlan, James. “From Platonism and the Farnese Hercules to Steve Reeves and the Peplum Hercules via a Radical Ohio Hegelian and his Socialist German Acrobats.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 4 (2021): 113-122. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2021.0042.


James McLachlan
Philosophy and Religion Department, Western Carolina University
Stillwell 234, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA

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