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Philosophical Presences in the Ancient Novel

Philosophical Presences in the Ancient Novel

J.R. Morgan
Meriel Jones
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Barkhuis
Pages: 282
  • Book Info
    Philosophical Presences in the Ancient Novel
    Book Description:

    This collection of essays, the result of a 2006 conference at the University of Wales in Lampeter, look at the influence of philosophical texts on the ancient novel. In both Greek and Latin novels substantial traces of philosophical ideas can be found; these essays discuss the levels on which they were intended to operate, and how they were meant to resonate with their audiences. Specific authors discussed include Xenophon of Ephesus, Achilles Tatius, Longus, Apuleius and Lucian, while the philosophical influences include Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics.

    eISBN: 978-94-91431-44-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xii)
    J.R. Morgan and Meriel Jones

    Most of the papers in this volume derive from a panel organised by the KYKNOS Research Centre for Ancient Narrative Literature for the fourth Celtic Conference in Classics, held at the University of Wales, Lampeter, in the summer of 2006. Even at the earliest stages of planning, when we decided upon the theme of philosophy in ancient fiction, it was clear that with the shared interests of existing members of the group and some judiciously and temptingly worded invitations to other colleagues there was the potential for an exciting and tightly focused three days of discussion. Reality exceeded expectation. In...

  4. What is this Philosophia Anyway?
    (pp. 1-22)
    Michael Trapp

    It is a good Socratic point that, if you are looking for the presence(s) of something somewhere, it is advisable to have a firm idea of the identity of that something as you begin. In that spirit, then, what wasphilosophiain the world of the ancient novel – meaning by ‘world’ both the environments constructed by the authors of the ancient novels for their stories to unfold in, and their own immediate cultural surroundings – in the period between the first century BC and the third or fourth century AD?

    Notoriously, the modern meanings and associations of the word...

  5. The Representation of Philosophers in Greek Fiction
    (pp. 23-52)
    J.R. Morgan

    This volume of papers is an addition to an already extensive bibliography on the presence of philosophy in ancient novels. On the one hand, one does not have to look far to discover the novelists pervasively intertexting with canonical philosophical texts: thePhaedrusand theSymposiumare particularly appropriate because of their central concern with the nature of love. This engagement covers a spectrum running from decorative and playful allusion, through appropriation of the characteristic language of various philosophical schools, to a rather more profound association with specific philosophical doctrines.¹ On the other hand, from late antiquity onwards, the strategy...

  6. Emotional Conflict and Platonic Psychology in the Greek Novel
    (pp. 53-84)
    Ian Repath

    The Greek novels, to strip them down to their essentials, are each about a pair of lovers. The protagonists are exceptionally beautiful and inspire amorous feelings not only in each other but also in those around them. Emotions invariably run high; they are also at times contradictory. The psychological factor in the novels has not gone unnoticed,¹ but one of the ways in which the novelists describe the emotional turmoil of their characters deserves special attention. In an article which examines conflicting emotions, Fusillo concentrates on certain passages which contain lists and descriptions of different feelings, demonstrating that:

    … the...

  7. Where Philosophy and Rhetoric Meet: Character Typification in the Greek Novel
    (pp. 85-110)
    Koen de Temmerman

    It is commonly, and rightly, accepted that typification plays a major role in characterisation in ancient literature. Assimilation to pre-existing character types in mythology, history, or literature is one of an author’s basic tools to endow his characters with meaning.¹ This holds true also for ancient Greek novelists. In scholarship on these texts, attention has been drawn to the presence and the role of character types from New Comedy and other literary genres.² Moreover, J. Morgan has rightly argued that character typification establishes probability and generic appropriateness, thus stimulating the reader’s fictional belief: ‘Kings must act like kings, slaves like...

  8. Andreia and Gender in the Greek Novels
    (pp. 111-136)
    Meriel Jones

    Focusing on Chariton and Heliodorus, this paper analyses the Greek novels’ conception of the cardinal philosophical virtue ofandreia. It begins by identifying the prototypical spheres ofandreiain both philosophical and more general cultural contexts, and examining the role played by gender stereotypes in the formation of ancient thought onandreia. It then explores the extent to which the novels advance a philosophy ofandreia, borrowing and manipulating classical philosophical doctrine to create a complex virtue which reflects the novels’ classical dramatic settings, as well as more contemporary concerns.

    The early history of scholarship on the Greek novels was...

  9. Novel Ways of Being Philosophical or A Tale of Two Dogs and a Phoenix
    (pp. 137-150)
    Ken Dowden

    Philosophers, like anyone else, can write novels. They can also write novels in some way to expound a philosophy. Sartre did this withNauseaand it is at least not absurd to claim that Apuleius did so with theGolden Ass. We are however quickly led into a field where we need to clarify what we mean by ‘philosophy’ or even ‘philosopher’. Nowhere is this clearer than in theWikipediaarticle on ‘Philosophy and literature’,¹ which struggled (at least at the time of consultation) under the enormous burden of supposing that we all know what philosophy is and observed,en...

  10. Stoic Echoes and Style in Xenophon of Ephesus
    (pp. 151-176)
    Konstantin Doulamis

    ‘Clumsy’, ‘unsophisticated’, ‘incompetent’: this is how several modern scholars have described Xenophon of Ephesus, leaving little room for interpretative work on his novelEphesiaca.¹ Xenophon’s critics have based their views upon the simplicity that is evident in all aspects of his novel: from the plotline and the sequence of episodes, through character portrayal and characterisation, to the relatively plain language and style employed throughout.²

    The ‘epitome theory’, according to which all or part of the surviving text of theEphesiacais the abridged version of a longer, lost work, provided Xenophon’s critics with a convenient explanation for the novelist’s literary...

  11. The Love of Wisdom and the Love of Lies: The Philosophers and Philosophical Voices of Lucian’s Philopseudes
    (pp. 177-204)
    Daniel Ogden

    Tychiades’ extended monologue in Lucian’sLover of Lies² describes a symposium in the house of Eucrates. There philosophers of different schools had attempted to persuade the disgusted Tychiades of the efficacy of magic and the reality of ghosts with nine tales of their own supposed experiences, to which Tychiades had added a counter-tale of his own. The text is the original home of the famous tale ofThe Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and this conveys the flavour of the ten. Amongst its other engaging tales a Babylonian miraculously blasts snakes with his scorching breath; a Hyperborean mage draws a woman to her...

  12. Longus’ Imitation: Mimēsis in the Education of Daphnis and Chloe
    (pp. 205-230)
    Fritz-Gregor Herrmann

    The concept ofmimēsisas ‘imitation’ and ‘representation’ is firmly established in literary criticism from Classical antiquity to the present day.¹ Against the background of that tradition, this chapter attempts to see what use Longus makes of the concept ofmimēsisin his pastoral novelDaphnis and Chloe. As is to be expected, the problem has received ample attention in modern interpretations of the novel.² The emphasis, though, in discussions ofmimēsisis, notwithstanding a general awareness of the wider contexts in which the concept plays a part, usually on ‘aesthetics’ and ‘the literary’. But while the literary-cum-aesthetical significance of...

  13. Philosophical Framing: The Phaedran Setting of Leucippe and Cleitophon
    (pp. 231-244)
    Karen ní Mheallaigh

    The beginning of Achilles Tatius’ novelLeucippe and Cleitophonpresents the reader with an enigma. The opening sequence stages the entire novel as the oral narrative of one ego-narrator (Cleitophon), nested within the egonarrative of an unnamed primary narrator who communicates across the page without mediation as if in internal monologue, without any reference to writing, papyrus, or textually-orientated entities such as the reader which might allow us to triangulate him, delineate a textual context for his curiously disembodied voice, or otherwise account for itswritten-ness. No further clues are found, either, at the end of Cleitophon’s narrative, which finishes...

  14. Disjoining Meaning and Truth: History, Representation, Apuleius’ Metamorphoses and Neoplatonist Aesthetics
    (pp. 245-270)
    Ahuvia Kahane

    1.Ethics and Aesthetics: Discussions of Neoplatonism, both on their own and in relation to literary works such as Apuleius’Metamorphoses, at times pay greater direct attention, understandably, to matters of ethics and religion than to aesthetics. Nevertheless, we should not forget that the principles implicated in Neoplatonism – broadly defined – require us to establish a relationship between the sensory world and the realm of unchanging qualities. If such principles distinguish levels of meaning, above all in terms of truth-value, then it would seem almost inevitable that a philosophy of representation and perception – in other words an aesthetics –...

  15. Abstracts
    (pp. 271-278)
  16. Index
    (pp. 279-282)