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Love and Providence: Recognition in the Ancient Novel

Overview

From the Odyssey and King Lear to modern novels by Umberto Eco and John le Carré, the recognition scene has enjoyed a long life in western literature. It first became a regular feature of prose literature in the Greek novels of the first century CE. In these examples, it is the event that ensures the happy ending for the hero and heroine, and as such, it seems, was as pleasing for Greek readers as the canonical Hollywood kiss is for contemporary movie goers. Recognitions are particularly gratifying in the context...

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Overview

From the Odyssey and King Lear to modern novels by Umberto Eco and John le Carré, the recognition scene has enjoyed a long life in western literature. It first became a regular feature of prose literature in the Greek novels of the first century CE. In these examples, it is the event that ensures the happy ending for the hero and heroine, and as such, it seems, was as pleasing for Greek readers as the canonical Hollywood kiss is for contemporary movie goers. Recognitions are particularly gratifying in the context of the ancient novels because the genre as a whole celebrates the idyllic social order to which the heroes and heroines belong and from which they have been harshly severed. In spite of their high frequency and thematic importance, novelistic recognitions have attracted little critical attention, especially in relation to epic and tragedy. With Love and Providence, Silvia Montiglio seeks to fill this gap. She begins by introducing the meaning of recognitions in the ancient novel both within the novels' narrative structure and thought world—that is, the values and ideals propounded in the narrative. She pursues these goals while examining novels by Chariton, Xenophon of Ephesus, Achilles Tatius, Longus, Heliodorus, Apuleius, and Petronius, as well as the Life of Apollonius of Tyre, the pseudo-Clementine recognitions, and the Jewish novel Joseph and Aseneth. In addition to addressing questions brought about by the recognitions—What does it mean for lovers to recognize each other at the end of their adventures? Is recognition the confirmation of sameness or an acknowledgement of change?—Montiglio addresses the rapport novelists entertain with their literary tradition, epic and drama. The book concludes by emphasizing the originality of the novels for the development of the recognition motif, and by explaining its influence in early-modern European literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an excellent and original work of scholarship, which will be a major contribution to the field of ancient novel studies, demonstrating with splendid range and coverage, and with lively and persuasive analysis, that the significance of the theme of recognition has been thoroughly underestimated for the ancient novel. A must-read for scholars, which students will also find attractive."—Stephen Harrison, Oxford University

"Montiglio's book combines wonderfully subtle and perceptive close readings of recognition scenes in ancient novels with an original and convincing 'big argument' that demonstrates the richness and individuality of these marvellous texts. This is a fine achievement, which confirms fiction as one of the most exciting areas of classical scholarship."—J. R. Morgan, Swansea University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199916047
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 3.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Silvia Montiglio is Basil L. Gildersleeve Professor of Classics at Johns Hopkins University.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction

Chapter 1. True Love and Immediate Recognition
Callirhoe: Something in the Way She Breathes
The Ephesiaca: Slow and Quick Eyes

Chapter 2. Beauty, Dress, and Identity
Leucippe and Clitophon: Teasing Expectations
Daphnis and Chloe: Too Beautiful to Be Shepherds

Chapter 3. Reading Identity: Recognitions in the Aethiopica
First, Misidentifications
The Recognition of Chariclea
Reading Recognitions

Chapter 4. A Gift of Providence? Recognitions in Two Roman Novels
The Satyrica: Recognition and Capture
The Golden Ass: Recognition and Return

Chapter 5. From the Pagan Novels to Early Jewish and Christian Narratives: Refashioning Recognition
Telling my whole life with his words:" Recognitions in Apollonius of Tyre
"Who are you?" Joseph and Aseneth, or It Is Impossible to Recognize a Convert
Recognition of Family and Recognition of God in the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions
Dress and Recognition: A Novelistic Motif Becomes Christian

Epilogue. The Greek Novel in the History of the Recognition Motif
Tragedy and Comedy
Future Influences: Highlights

Bibliography
Index

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