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Seeing Tongues, Hearing Scripts

Seeing Tongues, Hearing Scripts: Orality and Representation in the Ancient Novel

edited by Victoria Rimell
Volume: 7
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Barkhuis
Pages: 340
  • Book Info
    Seeing Tongues, Hearing Scripts
    Book Description:

    The Greek and Roman novels can be seen as an important transitional moment in the trajectory from performance to reading, from oralism to textuality, that has underpinned the history of discourse in European consciousness since the 5th century BC. In different and intriguing ways, they explore the contrast, tension, conflict, competition or dialogue between modes of discourse, which frame the novel's concern with identity and self-fashioning, as well as advertising innovation more generally.This volume brings together an international group of scholars interested in ancient and modern constructions of orality and writing and how they are reflected and manipulated in the ancient novel. The essays deal not only with questions of genre, oral poetics and traditions, but also with how various ways of pitting or collapsing modes of representation can become loaded articulations of wider world-views, of cultural, literary, epistemological anxieties and aspirations. The contributors focus in particular on issues surrounding theatricality, gender identity, rhetorical performance, epistolarity, monumentality and power in the ancient novel.

    eISBN: 978-94-91431-42-5
    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-XXII)
    Victoria Rimell

    It has become commonplace in recent years, and as classicists have become more and more familiar with Bakhtin, to discuss the ancient novel in terms of its ‘hybridity’. Bakhtin’s formulation of the novel as a ‘genre of becoming’, as ‘dialogic’ or ‘heteroglossic’ in its mingling of styles, registers, poetry and prose, seems especially apt when applied to ancient fiction.¹ This volume explores an understudied but crucial and in many ways all-encompassing aspect of the novel’s representational complexity, which perhaps also epitomises its modernity – its treatment of (the dialectic between) writtenness and orality.

    As Nimis puts it, the Greek and...

  4. Orality and Authority in Xenophon of Ephesus
    (pp. 1-22)
    Jason König

    Xenophon of Ephesus’Ephesiakahas often been viewed as an oral text, or at least as a text which arises from an oral narrative tradition. James O’Sullivan has made that argument most systematically, analysing the pervasive presence of formulaic language within the novel,¹ and Xenophon’s love of unmotivated transitions between episodes² as features of oral narrative. His argument offers an alternative to the common assumption that Xenophon’s text is an epitome of a longer work.³ Tomas Hägg has made similar points in arguing that the novels of Chariton and Xenophon arise from an oral background, which goes some way towards...

  5. Omero e la Sibilla. Mimesi e oralità nella Cena Trimalchionis
    (pp. 23-60)
    Andrea Cucchiarelli

    La dimensione orale (e aurale) del linguaggio appartiene, secondo principi estetici comunemente diffusi nella cultura antica, all’istante attuato del βίος. Per questa ragione la parola, intesa come presente atto performativo, era comunemente inclusa dall’insegnamento retorico nella categoria dell’actio: il gesto, il movimento del volto e del corpo costituivano la naturale cornice di una parola ‘viva’ e ‘presente’.¹ Ma come può un testo scritto riprodurre l’oralità, come può rappresentare, accanto al moto, all’azione e agli atti del suo oggetto, la parola ‘viva’? La risposta, anch’essa teorizzata nei principi estetici antichi, è la ‘mimesi’: è attraverso la capacità ‘imitativa’, considerata imprescindibile ad...

  6. The Inward Turn: Writing, Voice and the Imperial Author in Petronius
    (pp. 61-85)
    Victoria Rimell

    The episode atSatyricon80, where Encolpius and Ascyltos cat-fight over pretty-boy Giton, who eventually chooses Ascyltos, ends with one (or two) of Encolpius’ thirteen short elegiac poems: we read four lines on the fickleness of friendship andfortuna, onto which is tagged the following fascinating epigram:¹

    grex agit in scaena mimum: pater ille vocatur,

    filius hic, nomen divitis ille tenet.

    mox ubi ridendas inclusit pagina partes,

    vera redit facies, assimulata perit.

    A company acts a farce on the stage: one is called the father,

    one the son, and one is labelled the Rich Man.

    Soon the comic parts are...

  7. Visualising Drama, Oratory and Truthfulness in Apuleius Metamorphoses 3
    (pp. 86-105)
    Regine May

    In this paper I will expand both on van Mal-Maeder’s work on reasons for inconsistencies in theMetamorphoses¹ and on Slater’s recent work² on spectacular scenes in Apuleius to analyse how the language of theatre, of theatrical dialogue, as well as the non-linguistic representation of stage scenery and the like, has been integrated into a novel which itself may be orally performed, possibly in a theatre.³ TheMet. includes a large proportion of dialogue scenes, which might have an impact on how the novel is seen to negotiate the boundary between written text and oral performance. Taking into account the...

  8. Vocis immutatio: The Apuleian Prologue and the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Vocal Versatility
    (pp. 106-137)
    Wytse Keulen

    The notion that the Prologue of Apuleius’Metamorphosesplays on the tension and interaction between different modes of representation, introducing on the one hand a written text to be read by the reader, and on the other hand an oral story to be heard by an audience, has been discussed in various contributions on this intriguing text, most recently by some of those collected in the Oxford volume on the Prologue edited by A. Kahane and A. Laird (2001). Thus, for example, Don Fowler (2001, 225) speaks of theMetamorphosesas a ‘disjunctive work’, containing a dialectic between an assumed...

  9. The Ass’s Ears and the Novel’s Voice. Orality and the Involvement of the Reader in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses
    (pp. 138-167)
    Luca Graverini

    Don Quixote is certainly the best modern paradigm for a credulous and visionary reader, so affected by the books he reads that he mistakes the narrative world for ‘real’ life. In this paper, I will argue that the ancient novels, and Apuleius’Metamorphosesin particular, construct their ‘fictive’ reader¹ as a similarly gullible character; or, more exactly, that the ancient novels represent themselves as texts that demand a complex reading, and an audience that is not only diligent in understanding their literary sophistication but is also willing to be emotionally and almost physically ‘transferred’ into the narrative world they create....

  10. Advertising One’s Own Story. Text and Speech in Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon
    (pp. 168-200)
    Marko Marinčič

    It is perhaps worth clarifying at the outset what this essay is not about. It is not a discussion of oral vs. written forms of communication. I am going to argue thatLeucippe and Clitophonplayfully explores the Platonic dichotomy between living speech and written word, but that it does so quite independently of the medium involved (voice, book, computer screen etc.). Of course, we are not dealing with an ‘oral’ text and not even with a hybrid between oral and written forms of communication; hybridity, in this case, refers only to the presentation of discourse. Within this framework, ‘speech’...

  11. La voix et la main : la lettre intime dans Chéréas et Callirhoé
    (pp. 201-222)
    Patrick Robiano

    Étudier la lettre dans le cadre d’une réflexion sur oralité peut paraître étonnant. Or, comme le suggère le titre de mon article, en écho à P. Zumthor,La lettre et la voix,² il y a de ma part la volonté de rappeler d’emblée la dimension orale de la ‘littérature’ grecque et de souligner, en l’occurrence, que la ‘lettre’, τὰ γράμματα, n’est pas uniquement une trace, ni la transcription de la voix, mais qu’elle est le lieu d’une tension nécessaire entre écriture et oralité, tension inscrite dès le seuil de l’œuvre, dans l’‘instance préfacielle’³ où se caractérise, à la croisée de...

  12. Poiein aischra kai legein aischra, est ce vraiment la même chose? Ou la bouche souillée de Chariclée
    (pp. 223-256)
    Romain Brethes

    Dans la première de ses fameuses conférences sur les énonciations performatives, J. L. Austin fait preuve — comme à son habitude — d’un bel humour, cette fois envers les spécialistes de la morale, pour lesquels ‘l’énonciation extérieure est la description,vraie ou fausse, d’un événement intérieur’.² L’exemple choisi par Austin pour illustrer cet axiome est tiré de l’Hippolyted’Euripide, où le jeune homme se défend de respecter la parole donnée à sa nourrice : ‘Ma langue a prêté serment, mais non mon coeur’ (ἡ γλῶσσ’ ὀμώμοχ’, ἡ δὲ φρὴν ἀνωμοτός : 612). Si ‘promettre ne consiste pas simplement à prononcer...

  13. ‘Novels in the Greek Letter’: Inversions of the Written-Oral Hierarchy in the Briefroman ‘Themistocles’
    (pp. 257-278)
    Owen Hodkinson

    The twenty-one letters attributed to the 5th century BCE Athenian politician Themistocles have long been recognised as a much later composition (probably late 1st or 2nd century CE), and as an attempt at what we would today call an epistolary novel orBriefroman. Although the definition of the latter has been much disputed, common sense has recently seen this label accepted (with varying degrees of qualification) by Holzberg, Rosenmeyer and Trapp, following earlier important arguments by Penwill and Doenges.² There was no established genre ofBriefromanfor the author of these epistles to be writing in, and the text we...

  14. Divine Epistemology: the relationship between speech and writing in the Aithiopika.
    (pp. 279-298)
    Kathryn Chew

    1. The perspectives presented in the recent CambridgeStudies in Heliodorus(1998) demonstrate how complex and interpretively challenging it can be to read theAithiopika.¹ For instance, John Morgan sees the triumph of Hellenism in the novel’s ending as ‘the hero and heroine become Ethiopian [and] Ethiopia becomes ideally Greek’.² Tim Whitmarsh, on the other hand, argues that the novel contests its own genealogy and identity as it plays with hybridities of genre, culture, and perspective. The dominance of Greek mainstream culture is undermined as the story’s trajectory leads away from Greece to the far side of the world and as...

  15. Fixity and Fluidity in Apollonius of Tyre
    (pp. 299-320)
    Stelios Panayotakis

    Anonymous authorship, textual fluidity, and an episodic narrative structure are distinctive features that the LatinHistoria Apollonii regis Tyri(The Story of Apollonius, king of Tyre; hereafter,Apollonius of Tyre) shares with works of ancient Greek ‘popular’ literature such asThe Alexander Romance. As Hansen explains, ‘literature of this sort stands midway between conventional literature, in which texts ideally possess a single, unvarying form, and oral narrative such as myth, legend, and folktale, in which certain kinds of variation, including the development of ecotypes, or local recensions, are the norm’.¹ The fascinating adventures of Apollonius survive in diverging versions, the...

  16. List of Contributors
    (pp. 321-323)
  17. Indices

    • Index of Subjects
      (pp. 324-325)
    • Index of Passages Cited
      (pp. 326-340)