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Challenging Some Orthodoxies: The Politics Of Genre And The Ancient Greek Novel

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Chapter Summary

This chapter intends to look afresh at what's at stake in current conceptions of the genre. It looks at some key ways in which "novel" and "fringe literature" is currently constituted and reminds us why it matters how we categorise a work. The chapter explains that the privileging of certain works and exclusion of others has significant ramifications for our understanding of the ideological and political operations of imperial Greek literature. A decade or so ago Tomas Hägg warned scholars of ancient fiction, quite rightly, that "our gravest mistake would be to construct a building using only the few scattered remains-and believe the result to be historically true". An equally grave mistake, it seems to author, is to construct a building selecting some of the remains and discarding others, unless we can be certain of the difference between a foundation stone and a piece of rubble.

Keywords: ancient Greek novel; fringe literature; genre



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