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34 - The Uses of Bookishness (2009)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2023

Ewen Bowie
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

This chapter examine some ways in which Greek novels flaunt and make play with their textuality, particularly Antonius Diogenes’ The incredible things beyond Thule and Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe. It argues that Antonius Diogenes presents recurrent tensions between the textual and the oral and highlights the importance of γράμματα, ‘letters’, to communication within his narrative, mirroring its writing down on wooden tablets that readers encounter in its frame. It also proposes meta-literary functions both for the name of the Arcadian envoy to Tyre, Κύμβας, ‘Cymbas’, since one of the meanings Hesychius gives the noun κύμβη is πήρα, ‘bag’ ( i.e. the receptacle in which the wizard Paapis carried his magic books) and for the twisting and turning of Mant(in)eas in P.Oxy. 4761. Longus apparently follows Antonius Diogenes in (unusually) specifying the number of his work’s books, but γράμματα, ‘letters’, have no role within his narrative (despite being taught to the young couple): that narrative is an entirely oral response by an unnamed exegete to a γραφή in the sense ‘painting’, and though within it tales are told, nothing is ever written or inscribed, not even in Dionysophanes’ paradeisos or in his civic elite world.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • The Uses of Bookishness (2009)
  • Ewen Bowie, University of Oxford
  • Book: Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture
  • Online publication: 10 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781107415430.036
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  • The Uses of Bookishness (2009)
  • Ewen Bowie, University of Oxford
  • Book: Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture
  • Online publication: 10 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781107415430.036
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Uses of Bookishness (2009)
  • Ewen Bowie, University of Oxford
  • Book: Essays on Ancient Greek Literature and Culture
  • Online publication: 10 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781107415430.036
Available formats
×