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The Worlds of Aulus Gellius$
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Leofranc Holford-Strevens and Amiel Vardi

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264827.001.0001

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Aulus Gellius as a Storyteller *

Aulus Gellius as a Storyteller *

(p.105) 4 Aulus Gellius as a Storyteller *
The Worlds of Aulus Gellius

Graham Anderson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Gellius' narrative technique, which is that of an erudite collector of curiosities rather than a gifted storyteller. His choice of exempla or chreia-style anecdotes is often guided not by their philosophical or moral value, but by antiquarian piquance and their entertainment and titillatory value. Bookishness and antiquarianism are also prominent when he can be measured against others in well-known tales that exist elsewhere, such as Arion and the Dolphin, or Androclus and the Lion. In the former he seems somewhat ponderous, unimaginative and colourless, but shows to better advantage in the latter. His own enthusiasm emerges when he recounts anecdotes about life in the intellectual circles with which he is personally familiar. Here, he is able to narrate the course of events effectively and relate artistically expanded anecdotes capped with an erudite antiquarian flourish.

Keywords:   exemplum, chreia, Arion, Androclus, anecdotes, intellectual

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