Narrative and Identity in the Ancient Greek Novel: Returning Romance (Greek Culture in the Roman World)

Narrative and Identity in the Ancient Greek Novel: Returning Romance (Greek Culture in the Roman World)

Tim Whitmarsh

Language: English

Pages: 313


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Greek romance was for the Roman period what epic was for the Archaic period or drama for the Classical: the central literary vehicle for articulating ideas about the relationship between self and community. This book offers a reading of the romance both as a distinctive narrative form (using a range of narrative theories) and as a paradigmatic expression of identity (social, sexual and cultural). At the same time it emphasises the elasticity of romance narrative and its ability to accommodate both conservative and transformative models of identity. This elasticity manifests itself partly in the variation in practice between different romancers, some of whom are traditionally Hellenocentric while others are more challenging. Ultimately, however, it is argued that it reflects a tension in all romance narrative, which characteristically balances centrifugal against centripetal dynamics. This book will interest classicists, historians of the novel and students of narrative theory.





















evokes Gorgias’ famous claim that in tragedy ‘the deceived is wiser than the undeceived’ (¾ ˆpathqeªv sofÛterov toÓ mŸ ˆpathq”ntov), since ‘to be easily captivated by the pleasure (h¯edon¯e; cf. Philostratus’ h¯edeia) of words calls for sensitivity’ (eɆlwton g‡r Ëf ì ¡don v l»gwn t¼ mŸ ˆna©sqhton, F23 DK = Plut. Mor. 348c). For deiknunai in the sense of ‘represent’ cf. Luc. Imag. 5 (where the context suggests that deiknÅtw has this meaning). Þrai»thtov . . . kal¼n k†lliston . . . k†llouv . . .

Ëpomnžsei gen»menoi, toÓ crhsmoÓ, toÓ paid»v, t v ˆpodhm©av, ›keinto e«v g n ˆqumoÓntevá ¾ d• Megamždhv kaª ¡ EÉ©pph –pep»nqesan m•n ta aÉt†, eÉqum»teroi d• §san, t‡ t”lh skopoÓntev tän memanteum”nwn, 1.10.7. Intriguingly, however, by the end of the narrative both sets of parents have died out of old age and athumia (5.15.3): not even the cheerier Euippe and Megamedes could sustain themselves right up to the telos. 182 Part ii Narrative and identity by the pleasure of words calls for

of the Wonders as ‘translated’ from the Phoenician, then the connection with ‘Dictys’ is closer still: the preface to the Journal claims that the work is a translation into Greek from the Phoenician undertaken in the time of Nero. The Greek text (which survives only in fragments) is thus translated once;90 whereas the Latin text, the only complete version, also features an initial letter by one ‘Septimius’ explaining that he has translated the Greek translation.91 Both the Dictys author and

is prone to refashioning language for his own purposes: when (in the passage discussed in the previous paragraph) Sostratus anticipated Clitophon’s aid¯os, it is unlikely that he was thinking of adultery behind his daughter’s back. Clitophon continues explicitly to refashion his story in accordance with his own agenda. Presently he tells us that ‘I elevated [Leucippe’s] role too, even more than I had done mine’,114 in an attempt to win her favour. He soon returns to the theme of his own chastity,

kaª aÉt¼v oÉk ˆkoÅsav, ˆllì «swv ˆkoÅsomai, 2.32.3. Winkler (1982) 151–2 points to the various correspondences between the tale of Charicleia and Heliodorus’ account of the ebbs and flows of the Nile. Esp. Dowden (1996) 280–3. E.g. Porph. Vit. Pyth. 11–2; Iambl. Vit. Pyth. 18–9. Pythagoras is sometimes said to have travelled to the sources of the Nile: see e.g. Diog. Laert. 9.36. On Egypt as the land of philosophical initiation, see Andr´e and Baslez (1993) 283–5. –piqum©ai t v parì –ke©noiv

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