Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Construction of the Real and the Ideal in the Ancient Novel

The Construction of the Real and the Ideal in the Ancient Novel

Michael Paschalis
Stelios Panayotakis
Volume: 17
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Barkhuis
Pages: 312
  • Book Info
    The Construction of the Real and the Ideal in the Ancient Novel
    Book Description:

    The present volume comprises thirteen of the papers delivered at RICAN 5, which was held in Rethymnon, Crete, on May 25-26,2009. The theme of the volume, ' The Construction of the Real and the Ideal in the Ancient Novel,' allows the contributors the freedom to use their skills to examine the real and the ideal either individually or in conjunction or in interaction. The papers offer a wide and rich range of perspectives: a political reading of prose fiction in Late Period Egypt (Selden); the presence of robbers and murderers in ideal fiction (Dowden); the interaction between illusion and reality in novelistic ekphrasis (Zeitlin); divine loves as real precedents for human loves (Rosati); comical elements in Heliodorus' Aethiopika (Doody);myths as paradigms for the inexperienced lovers in the Greek novels (Létoublon); moral ideas in the Odyssey and the Greek novels in relation to moralizing interpretations of Homer (Montiglio); the reality of the basic plot of Callirhoe in the light of historical events and Aristotle's Poetics (Paschalis); the interaction between fictionality and reality in Daphnis and Chloe (Bowie); entrapment and insu fficient understanding of reality in the Satyrica (Labate); fantasy, physical and ideal landscapes in Apuleius' Metamorphoses (König); bridging the gap between Photis (real) and Isis (ideal) in Apuleius (Carver); the gendered aesthetics of the Greek novels viewed through the lens of the mimetic theory of Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Whitmarsh).

    eISBN: 978-94-91431-53-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  2. Acknowledgements
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    Gareth Schmeling
  3. Introduction
    (pp. IX-XVI)
    Gareth Schmeling

    The theme of this volume, ‘The Construction of the Real and the Ideal in the Ancient Novel,’ allows the contributors the freedom (intended by the organizers) to use their skills to examine the real and the ideal within the works of the genre. Contributors to the volume were of course encouraged to interpret the parameters of the theme.

    Despite the lively and long-standing discussion of the fantasmatic role that Egypt played in the Greek and Roman novel, scholars have paid much less attention to the ways in which prose fiction figured within the field of Egyptian cultural production. Accordingly, Daniel...

  4. The Political Economy of Romance in Late Period Egypt
    (pp. 1-40)
    Daniel L. Selden

    Given the prominence with which Egypt figuresinclassical romance, critics of the Greek and Roman novel – from Pierre-Daniel Huet through John J. Winkler – have returned repeatedly to ask what relationship Egypt bearstoclassical romance.¹ Some critics hold this connection to be metonymic: Egypt, for example, provided the cultural matrix out of which classical prose fiction originally emerged. Others, however, argue that the relationship is metaphoric: e.g., Egypt constitutes the symbolic locus of perplexion, a middle passage of danger, errancy, death, and delay out of which – as in the roughly contemporary narrative of Ἔξοδος² – the protagonists must extricate their...

  5. ‘But there is a difference in the ends ...’: Brigands and Teleology in the Ancient Novel
    (pp. 41-60)
    Ken Dowden

    In this contribution I am not seeking to recover the history of ancient brigandry, something which, as various writers, for instance W. Riess,¹ have shown is a difficult task given the lack of reliable documentary and historical records for this category of ancient activity and given the treacherous nature of fictionalising and ideologising ‘evidence’ in the novel, and for that matter in historiography. Rather, I am concerned to establish what brigands are for in the novel, particularly the Greek novel (though I will occasionally consider Apuleius), and what sort of tools they provide for ‘ thinking with’. Nevertheless, it will...

  6. Landscapes and Portraits: Signs of the Uncanny and Illusions of the Real
    (pp. 61-88)
    Froma I. Zeitlin

    References to works of art are a commonplace in the ancient novel, both Greek and Roman, and in the Second Sophistic as a whole, in keeping with the heightened significance of the visual arts from the Hellenistic period on. This cultural development entails a growing familiarity with famous specimens of aesthetic production, as well as with a repertory of well-known mythic images, along with the pleasures of rhetorical display in the skillful management of vivid description.¹ These references fulfill a variety of functions. They range in length from brief epigrams on notable objects to standalone examples of fully realized scenes,...

  7. The Loves of the Gods: Literature as Construction of a Space of Pleasure
    (pp. 89-104)
    Gianpiero Rosati

    A famous scene of Achilles Tatius’Leucippe and Clitophonoffers an exemplary illustration of the mimetic mechanism that leads a mortal in love to find the legitimization of his desire in the loves of the gods (1,5,6):

    He sang Apollo’s reproach to Daphne for resisting his advances, and of how he pursued her, and was on the point of seizing her when the girl metamorphosed into a shrub, and of how Apollo wreathed himself with the shrub’s leaves. This song inflamed my soul all the more, for erotic stories fuel the appetite.Even if you school yourself into self-control, an...

  8. Comedy in Heliodoros’ Aithiopika
    (pp. 105-126)
    Margaret Doody

    Goethe, considering Manzoni, once made the admittedly paradoxical statement that ‘Alle Poesie’ – that is, all literature – ‘eigentlich in Anachronismen verkehre’ (‘actually deals in anachronisms’). Goethe criticizes Manzoni for dividing his characters between the categories of the modern and the historical. Apparently Goethe thinks that all writers must inevitably modernize the past. Hence all are anachronistic. This is true even of the revered masters of antiquity:

    Die Ilias wie die Odyssee, die sämtliche Tragiker und was uns von wahrer Poesie übrig geblieben ist, lebt und atmet nur in Anachronismen

    TheIliad, like theOdyssey, the collected Tragedians and whatever remains to...

  9. Mythological Paradigms in the Greek Novels
    (pp. 127-146)
    Françoise Létoublon

    As a specialist in Homer, I have been interested in the textual links of the Greek novels, particularly with Greek myths from the archaic period to the Hellenistic and Roman times. The important book published in 2004 by Edmund Cueva onThe Myths of Fiction: Studies in the Canonical Greek Novels, far from exhausting the matter, renewed our interest in this field. The main idea in my paper derives from Malcolm Willcock’s seminal articles on mythological paradigms in Homer (Willcock 1964; 1977). Reading the Greek novels, I felt they might show parallels with the argumentative use of myth as a...

  10. ‘His eyes stood as though of horn or steel’: Odysseus’ Fortitude and Moral Ideals in the Greek Novels
    (pp. 147-160)
    Silvia Montiglio

    The novels are odysseys: they tell of wanderings, adventures, and homecomings. An intriguing and sophisticated reference to theOdysseyas the novels’ main sub-text occurs in Heliodorus’Aethiopica, at the beginning of the couple’s journey from Delphi to Africa, the central journey in this novel, and one which reproduces Odysseus’ journey more closely than those in other novels because it is not circular: just as Odysseus travels from Troy to his homeland, Charicleia and Theagenes, guided by Calasiris, plan to reach the girl’s country from abroad. After some time on Cephallenia, one of the Ionian Islands, they resume the navigation...

  11. The Basic Plot of Callirhoe: History, Myth, and Aristotelian Poetics
    (pp. 161-178)
    Michael Paschalis

    Callirhoeis indeed conventionally characterized as an ideal novel. The heroine possesses exceptional beauty which exerts universal attraction, causes her to be identified with Aphrodite in appearance and worship and all the major players in the novel to fall in love with her. Chaereas achieves the incredible feat — also considering the capacities he had displayed up to that moment — of capturing the city of Tyre, a feat which matches one of Alexander’s most difficult siege enterprises (7.2.6-4.9). But the features mentioned by Whitmarsh would hardly qualifyCallirhoeas an ‘ideal’ love story. Can then a novel be both ‘ideal’ and...

  12. Caging Grasshoppers: Longus’ Materials for Weaving ‘Reality’
    (pp. 179-198)
    Ewen Bowie

    The other papers in this volume have operated, explicitly or implicitly, with a number of different definitions of ‘the real’ and ‘the ideal’. I had better make it clear how I mean to use these terms. By ‘ideal’ I understand a presentation of action and character that emphasises praiseworthy qualities or actions, on occasion by eliminating or obscuring motives or choices that might be expected in ‘ordinary’, ‘real’ people. The resulting characters are like those attributed by Aristotle to tragedy, ‘better than in our world’, βελτίους ἢ καθ’ ἡμᾶς.¹ By ‘real’ I understand situations and behaviour which seem to a...

  13. Tarde, immo iam sero intellexi: The Real as a Puzzle in Petronius’ Satyrica
    (pp. 199-218)
    Mario Labate

    The narration handed down to us of theSatyricaopens, as is known, with the ‘school scene’. The protagonist Encolpius appears to be wholly absorbed in discussing with the teacher of rhetoric Agamemnonde causis corruptae eloquentiae, commenting in the portico on the challenging speech that the master had just given inside the school (3,1).

    In spite of the passionate enthusiasm that seems to grip the young man for the more ‘controversial’ subjects of cultural current affairs, the reader quickly learns that in that situation, Encolpius had got involved, in a certain sense, more than he had intended or planned...

  14. Landscape and Reality in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses
    (pp. 219-242)
    Jason König

    Apuleius’Metamorphosesinvites its readers – more conspicuously so than any of the other surviving ancient novels – to reflect on the possibility that mortal understandings of ‘reality’ are inadequate. One of the major themes of the work is the way in which the validity of Lucius’ perceptions of the world around him, in Books 1-10, is thrown into doubt by his access to higher, divine knowledge in Book 11 (although the work of course also leaves open the possibility that Lucius’ judgement in Book 11 is just as flawed as it always had been).¹ In that sense, reading Apuleius takes us...

  15. Between Photis and Isis: Fiction, Reality, and the Ideal in The Golden Ass of Apuleius
    (pp. 243-274)
    Robert H.F. Carver

    At the very time that he was writingMadame Bovary(acknowledged today as a masterpiece of French Realism), Gustave Flaubert was readingThe Golden Ass.¹ In a letter to his mistress, Louise Colet (27-28 June 1852), he describes his ‘dazzled’ reaction to the work: he praises the realistic dimension in Apuleius, his willingness to present Nature as she actually is (La nature pour elle-même); but he also encapsulates the novel’s unsettling mix of high and low elements, its fusion of the corporeal with the sublime: ‘It reeks of incense and urine; bestiality is there married to mysticism’ (Ça sent l’encens...

  16. The Erotics of mimēsis: Gendered Aesthetics in Greek Theory and Fiction
    (pp. 275-292)
    Tim Whitmarsh

    ‘She looked like a picture I had once seen of Selene on a bull...’. These words of Achilles Tatius (1,4,3) are famous partly for the textual uncertainty (should we read Selene or Europa?), a philological ambiguity that has provoked an unusually sophisticated response, couched in terms of both cultural and gender politics.¹ But even if we leave aside the critical question of whether (or, better, how) this picture relates back to the narrator’s earlier ekphrasis of the painting of Europa on a bull (1,1,2-13), it is clear that this passage invites us to reflect on the relationship between beauty, gender...

  17. Abstracts
    (pp. 293-300)
    Daniel L. Selden