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By Tim Whitmarsh

The Greek romance was once for the Roman interval what epic was once for the Archaic interval or drama for the Classical: the primary literary automobile for articulating principles in regards to the dating among self and neighborhood. This ebook deals a clean studying of the romance either as a particular narrative shape (using a variety of narrative theories) and as a paradigmatic expression of identification (social, sexual and cultural). whilst it emphasises the pliability of romance narrative and its skill to house either conservative and transformative versions of id. This elasticity manifests itself in part within the edition in perform among assorted romancers, a few of whom are ordinarily Hellenocentric whereas others are tougher. eventually, notwithstanding, it's argued that it displays a rigidity in all romance narrative, which normally balances centrifugal opposed to centripetal dynamics. This booklet will curiosity classicists, historians of the radical and scholars of narrative theory.

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47 The young lovers’ effulgence at one level separates them from the masses. As so often in aristocratic Greek culture, physical beauty accompanies (and, ideologically speaking, serves to naturalise) social distinction. Yet it would be a misunderstanding of aristocratic ideology to suggest that the elite are somehow isolated from the rest of the city. Rather, what distinguishes them is their ability to distil and embody the city’s most sublime qualities. In this 42 43 44 45 46 47 Cooper (1996) 20–44 and Swain (1996) 101–31 both emphasise the role of civic values, but without distinguishing the registers of different romances; Morales (2008) 42–3 suggests a more pluralist approach.

The protagonists are not ravaged by age and experience like Odysseus; all the sufferings inflicted upon them during the course of the narrative are always reversible. 83 There is also a sense of the dependable eternality of the community, at least in the earlier texts: nothing changes in the polis either. Returning romance enacts a paradox: a text in which the protagonists both are and are not the same at the end. This paradox would, I think, be more familiar (but not necessarily more resoluble) for members of a community with a strong conceptualisation of passage rites.

71 The beginnings of the first-century romances dramatise societies performing their collectivity through time-honoured ritual and political practice – at the same time as the failure of that collectivity, its capacity for self-destruction under pressure. The narrative of separation from the community can thus be read both as a narrative narrowly about named individuals, and more generally as an allegory for the psychic and social trauma 69 70 71 Connors (2008) 164–5; Morales (2008) 42–3. Military imagery: –stratol»gei .

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