Preview: ‘The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding’ – Barbara Stok’s Wonderfully Realised Fascination With Philosophy

by Richard Bruton

The author of SelfMadeHero’s Vincent turns her attention to Hipparchia and a lost strand of philosophy…

So, The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding by Barbara Stok is the new graphic novel from SelfMadeHero by Barbara Stok telling us of the life and times of Hipparchia, one of the first female philosophers.

If you’ve read her previous work from SMH, Vincent, the biography of Van Gogh, you’ll already know that whatever Stok is covering is well worth reading. And if you haven’t read Vincent (but you should rectify that right now), then I have to tell you that Stok’s work has a way of breathing wonderfully new life into the past, highlighting the essence of important figures of the past, be they well-known (in the case of Van Gogh) or sadly and criminally forgotten (in the case of Hipparchia here in The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding).

Anyway, here’s the SMH PR… trust me, this is definitely going to be worth your time…

“It is the 4th century BC in Greece. Hipparchia is about to marry the rich son of a family friend when she meets Crates. As the wedding day approaches, Hipparchia becomes increasingly captivated by the views and way of life of this strange philosopher who lives on the streets. Gradually she starts to realize that the safe, comfortable, and cushioned life of luxury that has been mapped out for her is actually one of emptiness, and spiritual imprisonment. Crates and Hipparchia came to develop a central strand of the so-called “Cynical” movement in Athenian philosophy – so-named for the dog-like tenacity or canine fury of their rejection of all conventional values. One of their fundamental principles was that we can only attain true happiness if we are independent of material possessions and social position. Hipparchia was a strong woman who had the courage to live by her own ideals, despite all the prevailing prejudices of her time. Her story continues to speak to ours.”

So yes, Barbara Stok sets about re-writing the philosophical establishment ideology with this new graphic novel of all things philosophical. Like I say, if you’ve read Vincent you’ll know just how that Stok can breathe so much new life into the artistic greats of the past. And with The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding this just means she’s going deeper into history and a forgotten and important history at that.

[Oh, and just as an aside the title… The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding, it should have an Oxford comma, shouldn’t it? After all, if Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, someone who took his nanny on his electioneering back in the day, decides that the Oxford comma is a no-go, then I have to be on the other side of things – and frankly so should you.]

Anyway, Barbara Stok’s work is definitely something you should be looking into, as this award-winning comic artist from The Netherlands has a history of turning in insightful and entertaining graphic biographies, with The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding being just the latest.

You can see more from Stock at her website and Twitter. And you can get hold of Barbara Stok’s The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding from SelfMadeHero on 15 September 2022 (but if you’re in the USA you’ll have to wait until the 18 October – I know, it sucks, but hey, them’s the breaks)

So… preview time…

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