Mark Blitz, "At Homer's Diner" (Review of Encounters and Reflections) The Weekly Standard, Vol. 28, no. 29, April 7, 2003.
There’s a joke that goes: “‘Do you know where we’re supposed to go?’ I said, ‘No.’ So he said, ‘Well let’s go together.’ That’s how we met.”
This joke—an all-purpose metaphor for youth, love, education, friendship, and thought—appears in “Encounters and Reflections.” The book is a remarkable collection of accounts of Seth Benardete’s encounters with various people, now mostly obscure, and his reflections on topics, more obscure still. Benardete, the classical scholar and philosopher who died last year, sat down in the early 1990s with three of his students to recapture their conversations of twenty years before. The resulting discussions are both spontaneous and well ordered: a lovely achievement brought about by the editor’s skill, Benardete’s wizardry, and the familiarity of friends. Of course, they don’t quite have the unity of one of Plato’s dialogues. But it’s nonetheless presumably no accident that many of them occurred in a place called Homer’s Diner.