Michael Paschalis, Stelios Panayotakis (EDS): The Construction of the Real and the Ideal in the Ancient Novel Ancient Narrative Supplementa 17.
2013. Pp. XVI, 312. Groningen: Barkhuis & Groningen University Library. Hard cover 84.80 [euro] ISBN 9789491431258
The Construction of the Real and the Ideal in the Ancient Novel is the outcome of a fifth successful RICAN congregation in Crete, organised by Stelios Panayotakis and Michael Paschalis in 2009, and is the seventeenth instalment in the Ancient Narrative Supplement series. According to Gareth Schmeling's introduction (pp. ix-xvi), the rubric of the volume is designed to allow the contributors 'the freedom ... to use their skills to examine the real and ideal within the works of the genre' (p. ix). The result is thirteen offerings written in English (though from a cast of international scholars), all of which adopt a strategy of close textual engagement in their bid to tease out the various constituents of the 'real' and the 'ideal'.
This is no easy task. The validity of this dichotomy has been a central concern for thinkers ranging from Plato to Baudrillard and Zizek, because through it humans can organise their experiences meaningfully. The problem is that, like any culturally constructed categories, the 'real' and the 'ideal' differ according to time, place, text, and even sections of text. Slippages abound, especially in a novel such as Apuleius' Metamorphoses, in which the categories 'real' and 'ideal' are themselves major themes. Indeed, the dissolution of notions of 'real' and 'ideal' is a core focus in many of the essays in the volume, for example that between 'art' and 'nature' (Zeitlin), 'copy' and 'original' (Whitmarsh), 'myth' and 'reality' (Rosati, Letoublon), 'illusion' and 'higher experiential plane' (Carver) etc. All of these binaries are entry points by which the contributors seek to articulate the 'real' and the 'ideal' within a meaningful conceptual apparatus. A range of sophisticated methodologies and intellectual positions are brought to bear in thinking about aspects of character (Dowden, Montiglio), setting and landscape (Konig, Labate), including approaches which contextualise the terms within ancient debate (Paschalis, Whitmarsh). The volume will no doubt stimulate further work: for example, historiographical prose, contiguous with the novel in both form and (often) content, could greatly profit.
Whilst homogeneity is broadly achieved, the collection remains loose enough for readers (1) to dip in and out without worrying that they are missing an overarching narrative. (2) Contributions hew closely to the established canon of the seven extant novels--only Selden, Carver, and Whitmarsh range substantively beyond the perimeter, dealing with Egyptian literature, Middle Platonism, and Greek aesthetic theory respectively--and it may be no coincidence that they bring broader cultural questions into play. Elsewhere, the paradigmatic grouping of the novels into 'idealising' Greek and 'realistic' Latin rightly comes under fire: Heliodorus, for example, is shown to be more ludic than is usually acknowledged (Doody). In this connection, one might argue that the fragmentary remains of Lollianos' Phoinikika and the Iolaus are regrettably under-represented in the volume.
The image of Pygmalion on the front cover, Edward Burne-Jones' The Heart Desires, is a call to arms on the subject of the 'real' and the 'ideal'. Image and text are reinforced by a set of abstracts, a select index locorum, and a useful general index. I was thankful for individual rather than cumulative bibliographies. Typos are very few and not a distraction.
Daniel Selden's paper, 'The Political Economy of Romance in Late Period Egypt' (pp. 1-40), opens the collection with an investigation into the subterranean politics of four texts coinciding with four periods during which the Egyptians found themselves as tributaries to other empires (Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Byzantine, 565 BCE-643 CE): the Old Aramaic Life of Ahiqar (dated to 475 BCE), the so-called Bentresh Story (inscribed in Late Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics on a public stele, probably dating to the later fourth century BCE), Chariton's Callirhoe (c. first century CE), and the Coptic Cambyses Romance (dated palaeographically to the late sixth or seventh century CE). The major claim is that each text, in its own way, constitutes a discourse on 'Egypt's position within the evolution of the Levantine-Mediterranean world order' (p. 16), that is, its increasing marginalisation within this order. In answering the question of 'what romance in the Late Period meant for Egypt' (p. 2f.), S. exposes the ideologies of the texts and argues that they form a coherent unit charting the dialectical trajectory of Egypt's tributary status in the political economy of the Levantine-Mediterranean world. S.'s paper contains eleven pages of bibliography, as well as eight maps and two diagrams.
S. argues that Assyria in the Life of Ahiqar 'functions principally as a trope for the Achaemenid empire' (p. 6), whilst the Bentresh Stele can be read as a '"marriage" of imperial peripheries [Egypt and Bactria] at the centre [Mitanni]' (p. 12f.), as well as reflecting a power differential between Egypt and Bactria. (3) S. sees Chariton's role in this historical metanarrative as bound up with the fact that Egypt is absent from the final reconciliations after its revolt, an absence which reflects its 'abiding history of resistance to all political subordination within the Levantine-Mediterranean world system' (p. 21)--a powerful political reading of a text which has much to offer on this score. Finally, S. reads the Coptic Cambyses Romance as a response to the re-occupation of Egypt from 618-628 CE by returning to the trauma of the original Persian occupation of over a millennium before. There is much to be said in support of the argument that these texts constitute a mastery of previous trauma in the form of narrative.
Perhaps the cluster of Sesonchosis stories, and the fragmentary romance associated with him, could be placed within the overarching argument of the paper: this Egyptian king, a conflation of Ramesses II (who figures in the Bentresh Stele) and others, was a popular figure in the Hellenistic period, and arguably functions as a venue for native resistance to Greek rule. (4)
Ken Dowden's contribution, '"But there is a difference in the ends ...": Brigands and Teleology in the Ancient Novel' (pp. 41-59), explores the role of the brigand ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and brigandry ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), focusing predominantly on Xenophon Ephesius and Heliodorus, but with passing references to other Greek and Roman novels. D. is concerned with how the category of brigandry functions within the semiotic economy of the novels rather than, for example, reconstructing the historical realia behind the category. The substantive claim of the paper is that brigands and brigandry do not function as mere structural cogs in (or motors of) plot (except in the case of Achilles Tatius), but as a discursive space in which to represent a debate on how we choose to lead our lives.
D. gives a useful overview of relevant lexemes and their semantic ranges, but focuses on the frequently found [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] whose primary distinguishing features are violence and desire for material gain. D. links the violent nature of the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to their status as an anthropological category which 'reflects a demonisation of all armed opposition to the Roman state ... converting resistance groups into outlaws' (p. 43). (5) The second half of D.'s paper puts many discoveries of the first half to work in a sophisticated way: brigands provide a negative societal model (whose keynotes are [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) against which the ideal can be set into relief. Though motivated by a desire for [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], their society is one which is nevertheless regulated by its own codes of behaviour. D. notes that in Xenophon, Heliodorus, and Apuleius, protagonists partake in brigandage (Habrocomes, Thyamis, and Tlepolemus respectively). Does the fact that they are assimilated (back) into the dominant socio-economic order represent a more positive and accommodationist account of the brigand-6ios?
The two focuses of Froma Zeitlin's paper, 'Landscapes and Portraits: Signs of the Uncanny and Illusions of the Real' (pp. 61-87), are firstly the garden descriptions in Book 1 of Achilles Tatius and their connection with Romano-Campanian garden frescoes (pp. 82-4 reproduce five such images in colour), and secondly the portrait of Andromeda which Persinna gazes at in Heliodorus (4.8.3-4). The major claim is that 'such descriptions, whether of 'actual' or 'painted' scenes, partake in a rich dialectic between the real and ideal--or perhaps more accurately, between the real and illusory', and that they invite the reader into a 'region of the uncanny' (p. 62; 66). Recognising the role of ecphrasis in the Second Sophistic as a key signifying strategy, Z.'s paper examines the slippery relations between the ecphrasis and its context, as well as the unstable ontologies of 'nature' and 'art'.
In her discussion of Achilles Tatius, Z. argues that the Europa ecphrasis (1.1), the locus amoenus in which Cleitophon utters his narrative (1.3), and the paradeisos (1.15-19), are all tightly linked: not only does the place of utterance impinge on the content of the utterance, but there is also a 'progressive move ... from an initial gazing at a pictorial garden to the characters, who themselves enter into a similar landscape' (p. 66)--that is, features of character and landscape became blurred and confused (esp. 1.19.2). This is neatly linked to Romano-Campanian paintings of the so-called Fourth Style (for example, the garden fresco in the House of Marine Venus), in which the garden depicted in the painting interacts with its context and gives the illusion of extending the space of the actual garden. My question is a rather obvious one: are we to imagine Achilles to have seen such paintings, perhaps in South Italy? Longus might well be a useful comparandum here, especially in connection with the panels in the Red Room of the Villa of Agrippa Postumus at Boscotrecase.
Z. draws out the significance of the 'Andromeda effect' in Heliodorus which results in the fair-skinned Charikleia. The episode--the riddling key to the novel--violently problematises the boundaries of 'original' and 'copy': in Heliodorus, the painting is the original, and Charikleia is the copy (Whitmarsh's paper dovetails nicely with this), thereby foregrounding the slippage between representation and reality. Commenting on the popularity of Andromeda in Romano-Campanian wall paintings, Z. makes the intriguing suggestion that the painting in Heliodorus--which produces Charikleia--could have a metaliterary function, that is, that such a painting is the inspiration of the novel.
Gianpiero Rosati explores the function of mythological paradigms in a paper entitled 'The Loves of the Gods: Literature as Construction of a Space of Pleasure' (pp. 89-103), and can be read in fruitful counterpoint with Letoublon's offering. Drawing on Girard's concept of mimetic identification--whereby a myth acts as a superior model for emulation--R. argues that mythical models of divine loves in the novel function as a 'legitimization of desire' and 'incentive to sin' (p. 90; 100). Adducing Cleitophon's erotic response to the story of Apollo's pursuit of Daphne in Achilles Tatius (1.5.6), R. submits that 'the mythoi of the divine loves create a space of pleasure' (p. 96) as well as acting as repositories of cultural authority.
A major question which R. asks is whether the characters involved view the divine loves as historical precedents or mythical paradigms, that is, do they perceive them as fiction or reality? As he fairly states, the question is difficult to answer because of the fluidity and situatedness of these categories. Perhaps one solution might be found in the very irony which occupies the space between the 'argument' function of the myth (how the character understands it) and the 'key' function (how the reader understands it). R. further argues that being a reader/hearer of divine love stories is a gendered phenomenon, and that 'stories about the gods' loves hold a particular attraction for women' (p. 101). He makes a further claim: that the gendered nature of this phenomenon constitutes a mise en abyme, offering 'women in the Greek world' an 'ideal space that is alternative to reality', providing 'escape fantasies of women eager to quit the gloomy confines of the women's quarters' (p. 102). R. here seems to be aligning himself with the series of articles by Brigitte Egger who argues for the identification of a female readership for the Greek novels. (6)
R. well notes that amores divum in the novels are often analogous to the experience of looking at scenes of love-making in Roman visual culture (nicely dovetailing with Zeitlin's paper). The analogue is particularly intriguing in its suggestion that both experiences enable an upper-class fantasy of social mobility and power.
In a paper entitled 'Comedy in Heliodorus' Aithiopika' (pp. 106-106) Margaret Doody explores several of the thematic and characterological elements which contribute to a comic reading of Heliodorus' novel. Anachronism is a focal point: both the historical setting and the ubiquity of references to dramatic genres are conscious anachronisms (insofar as the historical setting of the novel predates the efflorescence of Attic drama).
Acknowledging that the papyrological discovery of Lollianos' Phoinikika destabilises the traditional distinction between 'idealising' Greek and 'realistic' Roman novel, D. teases out the ludic elements of particular scenes in Heliodorus, especially in terms of comic characterisation. Why, for example, is Charikleia's first assumption on seeing the brigands that they are [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of the dead? And why, if they are living, does she suggest they look like criminals (1.3.1)? This is all meant to make us smile--as, D. suggests, we are encouraged to by the first words of the novel.
D. goes on to discuss two phenomena central to the novel which undercut Charikleia's 'tragic' mode: parades and scenes of bloodiness. Worthy of further consideration is the submission that all this 'mimics the pleasures of the Roman Circus' (p. 122). How is this to be linked with D.'s claim, for example, that the setting of the novel at the time of the Persian empire allows the author to explore 'the negative sides of Roman colonialism, imperial rule, and arbitrary sway over other populations' (p. 105)? As she points out, an Ethiopia strong enough to resist Persia at the height of its power is itself an anachronism. To what extent is anachronism being pressed into the service of resistance?
Francoise Letoublon's 'Mythological Paradigms in the Greek Novels' (pp. 127-45) examines the function of myths in Longus and Achilles Tatius. Her principal finding is that, in the case of Longus, myth has a paradigmatic function, serving to offer the young and inexperienced protagonists a stock of behavioural and ethical models; in Achilles' case she concludes that myths function as prolepses rather than paradigms. The focus on mythical paradigms makes L.'s paper a useful companion piece to Rosati's, as well as Zeitlin's in connection with the relationship between frame and inset. (7)
Looking to Longus, she points out that the first three books contain an inset myth involving an attempted rape by Pan of a virginal maiden/nymph, and fairly wonders why there is no analogous myth in the fourth and final book. (8) She makes several pertinent observations on the paradigmatic features of the inset myths, principally that the maidens of the insets are lexically and thematically related to Chloe (but what does this proximity mean for the relationship between Daphnis and Pan?). (9) L. raises the interesting connection between narratives of frustrated rape in Longus and Ovid's Metamorphoses, though ends up disavowing the possibility of Longus having read Ovid--this is an area which warrants further attention. She also notes the didactic import of the myths, but the argument can be extended: especially in the insets of Books 1 and 3 there is the suggestion that the transaction that takes place between narrator (Daphnis) and narratee (Chloe) is of a sexual nature, and therefore matches the content of the narrative (and in this respect the argument chimes with that of Zeitlin). (10) For example, Chloe rewards Daphnis for his Echo-narrative with many kisses (3.23.5).
Focusing on Chariton and Heliodorus, Silvia Montiglio's contribution, '"His eyes stood as though of horn or steel": Odysseus' Fortitude and Moral Ideals in the Greek Novels' (pp. 147-59), discusses aspects of characterisation which can be ranged with contemporary philosophical treatments of Odysseus' fortitude (framed in terms of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). Indeed, the relevance of contemporary moralising discourse (especially concerning Odysseus) to the ancient novels is a subject which is now attracting increasing attention. The fundamental question asked in the paper is whether these traits in the novelistic characters derive from Odysseus. M. claims that they do, but that they are also characterised 'by a hyper-emotionality, which makes them unfit to imitate Odysseus' fortitude consistently' (p. 150): whereas in the second half of the Odyssey the safety of the protagonist hinges on his ability to dissimulate his emotions, the novels trade on the emotions of their characters.
For M., Chariton (in particular) depicts his characters 'aspiring, but failing, to control themselves' (p. 155). For example, both Chaereas (3.6.6) and Dionysius (8.5.10-12) struggle to maintain their composure in the face of receiving news they don't want to hear, a struggle which constitutes a discourse in the 'heautocratic ideal' of self-control. In this connection M. well notes the paradox of a romance in which characters do subscribe to such an ideal, and this is precisely the reason why the bandit Theron is the only character to have truly Odysseus-like [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (though it is a virtue which serves only his dishonesty). In her discussion of Heliodorus, for which the Odyssey is an obvious and major hypotext, M. discerns a greater degree of 'criticism of uncontrolled responses of the body than in Chariton' (p. 153 n. 17). Much of the analysis focuses on Hydaspes, who initially has 'eyes of horn or steel' (an allusion to Od. 19.209-12), but then allows his paternal feelings to take over. Coupled with a passage from Plutarch's Concerning Talkativeness (506a), which adduces the same Odyssean passage, M. concludes that the 'heautocratic ideal' has a particular relevance to men of authority.
Michael Paschalis' paper, 'The Basic Plot of Callirhoe: History, Myth, and Aristotelian Poetics' (pp. 161-77), revisits the vexed question of Chariton's familiarity (or not) with Aristotle's Poetics. Focusing on two elements of the 'basic plot'--Chaereas' kick to his pregnant wife's belly, and Callirhoe's second marriage to Dionysius--P. questions whether we are 'dealing with a novel in which basic plot elements are "non-ideal" and secondary ones "ideal'" (p. 162), whilst also acknowledging the difficulty involved in deciding what exactly constitutes 'basic plot'. Working from the assumption that Chariton's novel is based on a pre-existing historical-legendary tradition (and therefore that the unideal elements form the basis of a historical undergirding), P. discusses the historicity of certain named characters in the novel (Hermocrates of Syracuse, Dionysius of Miletus) and their link to 'real' historical events. P. connects these issues to well-known passages of the Poetics, in which Aristotle advises sorting out the 'basic plot' first, before moving on to supplying the names and episodes (ch. 7), and in which he distinguishes between the arbitrary names used in comedy as opposed to already existing historical names which are used in tragedy (ch. 9).
The issue of the extent to which the Trojan legend may have been a formative influence on the basic plot of Chariton's novel is another focus: namely, whether the bigamist Helen serves as a model for Callirhoe. P. argues cogently that she does not (for example, Callirhoe only requires a second marriage because of her pregnancy by Chaereas). He does, however, suggest that Chaereas' anger finds its model in the wrath of Achilles in the first book of the Iliad, determining that Chaereas' kick to the pregnant Callirhoe's stomach functions as a 'novelistic version of the sword blow Achilles was considering to deliver against Agamemnon before he was stopped by Athena (Iliad 1.188-222)' (p. 174). This is a neat suggestion: if it is indeed the case that human anger is the plot motor in both the Iliad and Chariton, the latter strikes a note of parody and deflation of epic pretensions, and provides a programmatic key by which to read other elements in the novel.
In his 'Caging Grasshoppers: Longus' Materials for Weaving "Reality"' (pp. 179-97), Ewen Bowie analyses aspects of geography and names within Longus' fictional Lesbian world. The major claim is that the setting is unambiguously derived from the literary tradition (especially Theocritus and Sappho), but that this literary texture is complicated by elements from the 'real' world--perhaps this mixed constitution is in part responsible for the oscillation between 'soft' and 'hard' pastoral outlooks? For B., the 'ideal' is taken to be a 'presentation of action and character that emphasises praiseworthy qualities or actions', in contrast to 'real' (or 'realistic') which is what one might normatively expect (p. 179).
There is justified emphasis on the fact that the opening of the novel, with its [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and protagonist named Daphnis, trains the reader's eye squarely on Theocritus' first Idyll as a programmatic hypotext, whilst Chloe's caging of a grasshopper (1.10.2) corroborates this network of allusions. This is the engine room for the further speculation that, when Lamon says that he heard the story of Pan and Syrinx from a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2.33.3), we are to think of the anonymous [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of Id. 1.
Discussing the description of Chloe's face as 'truly whiter than goats' milk' ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 1.17.3), B. notes the connection with Theocritus (Id. 11.19-21). He rightly locates significance in the adverb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] which problematises the fictionality of the blatantly literary allusion (as it also does in the vintage-mime scene at 2.36.2; and see below for Whitmarsh's discussion of the verb sprpsrro in an allusive context)--a systematic study of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and its cognates in novelistic fiction would no doubt prove fruitful. B. profitably distinguishes the primary intertexts to be activated in connection with the country, from those of the city, which he determines work with a different set of intertexts. For example, Megakles (an aristocratic name) recalls both the seventh century Mytilenean warlord and the Athenian victor of Pindar's seventh Pythian.
A particularly exciting suggestion is made in connection with the Tyrian pirates who arrive in a Carian cutter, abduct Daphnis, and batter Dorco to death. For B., the reference to Caria nods obliquely to its biggest city Aphrodisias, the Roman centre and putative birthplace of the novel.
Working from the supposition that one of the central organising principles of Petronius' Satyrica is that of the trap, Mario Labate's paper, 'Tarde, immo iam sero intellexi: The Real as a Puzzle in Petronius' Satyrica' (pp. 199-217), explores the forces which entrap the protagonists and subsequently put them to flight. He concludes that Encolpius repeatedly finds himself in situations which he neither controls nor understands, 'until some external force breaks in, to interrupt the vicious circle into which he has fallen unawares' (p. 200).
L. is undoubtedly correct in his assessment that neither the narrating-I nor the character-I is aware of the semiotic and cultural codes which make up the space through which he wanders, even when these codes are obvious. For example, in the embasicoetas-cinaedus misunderstanding, when Encolpius says of the cinaedus that he super lectum venit (23.4.2), he does not realise that he has glossed embasicoetas. L. points to the fact that in the cena (as in other situations) the protagonist can only extricate himself from the situation by the sudden intrusion of an external force, in this instance the arrival of the firemen (78.7-8). He focuses on the element of flight in this and other episodes--a PHI count yields 56 results for fugere and cognates--and draws a suggestive link with Horatian satires which often contain or end in flight.
The recurring pattern of entrapment followed by flight is pressed into the service of textual reconstruction by L., who speculates that it played a part in the lost opening of the novel in Massilia. He adduces the evidence of Servius ad Aen. 3.57--which mentions the Massilian custom of scapegoating in times of plague, and the fact that this featured in Petronius--to explain Encolpius' putative flight from Massilia. For L. the pattern of entrapment and escape is cyclical.
Jason Konig's offering, 'Landscape and Reality in Apuleius' Metamorphoses' (pp. 219-41), explores how Apuleius' novel expresses the inadequacy of mortal understanding of 'reality' through representations of landscape (see also Zeitlin), especially mountains. K. focuses on two key features of landscape in Books 1-10: their debt to rhetorical and ecphrastic language, and their ability to impinge on the body--both of which ultimately underpin their illusory nature and 'turn out to be signs of Lucius' subjection to the sublunary world' (p. 220) in contrast to the 'higher' realities of Book 11. It is suggested that the destruction of the stage-set Mt. Ida at the end of Book 10 serves as the isthmus between pre- and post-Isiac worlds.
One of the major claims is that the artificiality of landscape is directly linked to the false and untrustworthy mechanisms by which Lucius processes 'reality', especially after his transformation into an ass, and that it contributes to the general instability of reality in Books 1-10. For example, what initially looks like a locus amoenus at 4.2.1-2 turns out to be dangerous (a pattern no doubt familiar to the reader of Ovid's Met.), (11) and the bandit cave at 4.6 is made up of such a farrago of conventional motifs that it ceases to have any basis in reality. K. is also acutely aware of the haptic and corporeal character of landscape, and its effect on (mainly Lucius') body, which he correlates with Lucius' inability 'to see beyond his bodily appetites and discomforts' (p. 239). In this connection K. excellently brings out the role of landscape as a source of suffering, and notes the ubiquity of sharp and jagged rocks in violent contexts. This extreme physicality has an alienating and defamiliarising effect, and is rightly connected to Lucius' demotion in status from human to animal: for Lucius, K. suggests, the wilderness functions as a trope for his shift in status, a space in which normative cultural schemata disintegrate and it becomes difficult to organise experience and render it stable.
Robert Carver's paper, 'Between Photis and Isis: Fiction, Reality, and the Ideal in The Golden Ass of Apuleius' (pp. 244-74), approaches the categories of the real and the ideal in the novel through (inter alia) an examination of the important female characters. One of the major suggestions is that the numerous correspondences between the less 'ideal' women and Isis ultimately contribute to a complication of Isis as a salvific force, ironised by (for example) Plutarch's claim in his De Iside et Osiride that the Iseion promises 'knowledge and comprehension of reality' (352a). To what extent, then, is a serious reading of Book 11 being called into question?
C. brings out how the witch Meroe (Socrates' consort in the Aristomenes inset) functions as a negative image of Isis: Socrates attributes the same powers to Meroe as are later given to the goddess. Further parallels between elements in Books 1-10 and Book 11 increasingly complicate a clean break between these sections. For example, the (elegiac) motif of servitium amoris as applied to the relationship between Lucius and Photis is also a functional component in that between Lucius and Isis. One particularly interesting (though unexplored) suggestion is that the villain Thrasyllus in the story of Charite functions as a sort of irruption of reality into an otherwise 'ideal' Greek romance (perhaps to be entitled Charite and Tlepolemus).
C. is especially sophisticated in his analysis of modes of interpersonal relationships against a Middle Platonic background. Noting the distinction in Plato's Phaedrus between Aphrodite Pandemos and Aphrodite Urania, he adduces Apuleius' 'trinitisation' of Plato's dual conception of love in the De Dogmate Socratis, according to which there is an intermediary type of love which embraces components from both the 'higher' Urania and the 'lower' Pandemos. Emphasising the reciprocal elements which characterise the relationship between Lucius and Photis, C. suggests that we should read their relationship as an instantiation of this intermediary conception of love. For my money, this is the highlight of the article.
In the concluding paper of the volume, 'The Erotics of mimesis: Gendered Aesthetics in Greek Theory and Fiction', Tim Whitmarsh explores the gendered aesthetics in Achilles Tatius, Heliodorus, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. He demonstrates how the novels are energised when read against the backdrop of Dionysius (esp. De Imitatione and Dinarchus), showing how 'women in the Greek novels should be understood both as passive objects of the gaze and as positive embodiments of the genre's creative power' (p. 277).
Discussing the viewing strategy of the narrator Cleitophon as he looks at Leucippe, W. points to the fact that her apparent empowerment is only constituted by her objectification: she has a signifying capacity solely by virtue of male desire. He suggests that the protagonist Leucippe, as an aestheticised object, 'also functions as an icon for the aesthetics of the text itself. Roman elegy might be a useful comparandum here, in which the female beloved is at once text and love object. One particularly acute observation is that the verb sptpsrra (in the simile describing Leucippe's complexion, 1.4.3) occurs at a moment in which literary imitation is also at stake.
W. traces the 'emphasis on female iconicity in rhetorical theory and fiction' (p. 278), focusing on Dionysius' De Imitatione, and establishes Dionysius' concern with sexuality and gender. He shows how the nature-culture binary quickly collapses when in the very same passage we hear that mimesis based on 9001? also involves training ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). For W., the conclusion is that '[m]imetic literature is at once artificial and capable of naturalistic representation' (p. 282). Focus shifts to the well known anecdote in De Imitatione (6.1 U-R) about the ugly farmer and his wife. W. suggests that the discussion of mimesis in terms of sexual reproduction serves as a metaphor for literary creativity: beautiful children (i.e., good literature) require the imposition of 'male' culture on 'female' nature. Rightly noting the connection to Persinna's gazing at the painting of Andromeda, he determines that Heliodorus is responding to Dionysius' De Imitatione, which explains the greater emphasis on maternality as a key to the novel.
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Stephens, S. A. and Winkler, J. J. (1995), Ancient Greek Novels. The Fragments. Princeton.
(1) All Latin/Greek/hieroglyphic passages are translated, and context explained, resulting in a collection that is suitable for veteran scholars on the novel as well as the more general reader.
(2) In the 'Acknowledgements' section (p. vii), Gareth Schmeling accuses the reviewer of a previous volume of ANS of misunderstanding the purpose of introductions. I'd like to avoid the same charge, but I think that a brief overview of some of the more recent theoretical aspects of 'real' and 'ideal' may have been a desideratum in his introduction.
(3) Ryholt (2013) now offers a reading of the story as an imitatio Alexandri.
(4) Stephens and Winkler (1995) 248.
(5) Perhaps the characterisation of Sallust's Lepidus as a latro provides corroborative evidence of this claim in the case of Republican historiography (Hist. fir. ampliora Phil. 33).
(6) Egger (1988), (1994a), (1994b).
(7) There are a couple of oddities in L.'s paper: at p. 132 she states, in connection with the inset myth in the third book, that Pan sent Echo's cattle mad, 'which reminds us of Phatta losing her eight cows', and that Earth makes her disappear along with her cattle. It is, in fact, the shepherds and goatherds which Pan sends mad: Echo is nowhere associated with cattle.
(8) An answer has already been provided by MacQueen (1990) 84-9, who reasonably argues that Chloe herself constitutes the missing myth, insofar as she transforms from virgin to wife--and we recall Pan's earlier characterisation of Chloe as a maiden [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2.27.2).
(9) A strange omission on this score is a reference to Bowie (2003), who argues that Pan's behaviour provides a negative paradigm, that is, a contrast to Daphnis.
(10) For the idea of an erotic relationship between narrator and audience, see Prince (1982) 160 and Scholes (1979) 26. This is harnessed to great effect by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, on which see Nagle (1988).
(11) See Segal (1969).
Reviewed by Daniel Jolowicz, University of Oxford, e-mail email@example.com
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|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2015|
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