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29 - Viewing and Listening on the Novelist’s Page (2006)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2023

Ewen Bowie
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

This chapter explores the ways in which the five novels diverge in their representation of sounds. Chariton seems well aware of what can be achieved by briefly-sketched sound effects, but brief sketches are all we get: he does not suggest that the written word might find it hard to convey varieties of sound. Xenophon is apparently not concerned to communicate sound effects at all. Achilles Tatius offers elaborate rhetoric and sometimes striking imagery in compensation for the written word’s inability to render sound. Both Longus and Heliodorus push their readers (in different ways) to reflect on the problem of communicating sound, each offering a different solution. That of Heliodorus for the representation of sung poetry is a striking advance on anything in the earlier novels, apparently learning from (but also upstaging) Philostratus’ Heroicus.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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