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Aelius Aristides' Illegible Body

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes how Aelius Aristides represents the difficulty of both interpreting and memorializing the body's suffering one can better understand his epic aspirations. It suggests that his struggle to communicate what has happened to him draws attention to a tension within those aspirations between his identity as the author of the Hieroi Logoi and his identity as a devotee of Asclepius. The chapter focuses on the two principal occasions for the expression of this tension: Aristides' dreams, through which he gains a privileged perspective on his symptoms, and his translation of suffering into a legible text capable of commemorating Asclepius's benefaction. It outlines the complex relationship of the living body to its story from the perspective of commemoration. The Odyssean slipperiness of the body in the Hieroi Logoi poses challenges of interpretation for both Aristides and his readers.

Keywords: Aelius Aristides' illegible body; Asclepius's benefaction; Hieroi Logoi



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