Narrators, Narratees, and Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature: Studies in Ancient Greek Narative

Narrators, Narratees, and Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature: Studies in Ancient Greek Narative

Narrators, Narratees, and Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature: Studies in Ancient Greek Narative

Narrators, Narratees, and Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature: Studies in Ancient Greek Narative

Synopsis

This is the first in a series of volumes which together will provide an entirely new history of ancient Greek (narrative) literature. Its organization is formal rather than biographical. It traces the history of central narrative devices, such as the narrator and his narratees, time, focalization, characterization, description, speech, and plot. It offers not only analyses of the handling of such a device by individual authors, but also a larger historical perspective on the manner in which it changes over time and is put to different uses by different authors in different genres. The first volume lays the foundation for all volumes to come, discussing the definition and boundaries of narrative, and the roles of its producer, the narrator, and recipient, the narratees.

Excerpt

The germ of this book lies in a research project that I developed in 1988, after finishing my PhD. That project promised the narratological investigation of narratives which are embedded in non-narrative genres, notably the Euripidean messenger-speech, the myth of the Pindaric victory ode, and the narratio in forensic speeches. As it turned out, the Euripidean messenger-speeches offered such a wealth of material that I devoted an entire book to them. After that I returned to my ‘first love’ Homer. I revived my plan in 1995, when I applied to the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research for a ‘Pioneer grant’, i.e., a grant for a group of scholars working on an innovative subject. By that time, the project had been re-christened Narratioms Ratio. A History of Ancient Greek Narrative, and, as this title suggests, expanded to include both narrative and non-narrative genres. In 1998 the opportunity came to fulfil my old dream, when I was awarded a professorship of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, which included a modest budget. In September 1999 I organized a two-day workshop in Amsterdam, which brought together prospective contributors, and during which the principles and practical organization of the project were discussed. One of the conclusions was that it would be impossible to complete the task we had set ourselves in a single volume, and that a series of volumes would be needed. On that occasion I asked Angus Bowie to co-edit the first volume. But it was soon clear to me that editing a multi-author and conceptually and methodologically experimental work such as this was a huge task, and I asked René Nünlist to act as—a second—co-editor of the first volume and to become co-editor of the series as a whole.

I wish to thank Heieen Keizer and Linda Woodward for their assistance in copy editing the texts. But my greatest thanks go to Michiel Klein Swormink of Brill Publishers for the trust he has shown in this truly pioneering project.

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