Hellenism, Nationalism, Hybridity

Tim Whitmarsh

in African Athena

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199595006
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731464 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

Hellenism, Nationalism, Hybridity

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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Taking its cue from Martin Bernal's politicisation of discourses of cultural origins, this chapter explores lively debates since the seventeenth century over the origins of the novel (increasingly imagined in the West as the dominant European and American literary form). In particular, it focuses on three figures: Pierre‐Daniel Huet, Erwin Rohde and Martin Braun, and the cumulatively ideological tenor of the debate. As readers of Bernal would predict, it is in the nineteenth century that the novel is claimed as definitively Greek, and hence European. Less predictable, however, are the fierce contests over the ancestry of the genre that both pre‐ and postdate this era; viewed over a longer duree, the ‘nationalist’ discourse of origins seems much less dominant and much more problematic than Bernal's sketch of post‐enlightenment Classics might have led us to predict.

Keywords: Classics; Nationalism; Hybridity; Novel; Judaism; Anti‐Semitism

Chapter.  5934 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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