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Chariton of Aphrodisias and the Invention of the Greek Love Novel$
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Stefan Tilg

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199576944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199576944.001.0001

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(p.198) 6 Narrative
Chariton of Aphrodisias and the Invention of the Greek Love Novel

Stefan Tilg

Oxford University Press

Chapter six examines Chariton's particular use of the term διήγημα (‘narrative’) and related words, which distinguishes him from the other novelists. It turns out that the only other texts in which the abstract noun διήγημα is as frequently referred to as in Chariton are rhetorical progymnasmata such as Theon of Alexandria's (possibly a contemporary of Chariton), short exercises in prose composition which prepare students for literary activities. The argument is that Chariton took his basic idea of ‘narratives’ from progymnasmatic exercises and turned it into a category of his novel poetics. The sense that his writing revolved around the category of narrative is not least corroborated by the fact that he seems to have adopted ‘narratives’ in the very title of his work, Narratives about Callirhoe (τὰ περὶ καλλιρόην διηγήματα).

Keywords:   narrative (διήγημα), rhetoric, Theon of Alexandria, Progymnasmata, title

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