Article

Roman Novel

Edmund Cueva

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online May 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0008
Roman Novel

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“Roman novel?” “Did the Romans have novels?” The Romans did not have a term for what we now consider the “novel” as a literary genre. Schmeling 2003 (cited in Introductory Works) identifies the “novel” (both Greek and Roman) as pertaining to a “group of works of extended prose narrative fiction which bears many similarities to our modern novel” (p. 1). In Stephen Harrison’s introduction to his collection of essays Oxford Readings in the Roman Novel, he notes that this is a complicated and controversial issue in regard to Petronius and Apuleius: “The label ‘Roman novel’, it is again a convenience: these are the only two extant texts of prose fiction in pre-Christian Latin which are in some sense Roman originals rather than direct translations of Greek texts, though some might wish to include with them the Historia Apollonii regis Tyri” (Harrison 1999, cited under Introductory Works). It is basically agreed that Petronius’s Satyrica (the most famous section of which is the Cena Trimalchionis), Apuleius’s Metamorphosis (also known as The Golden Ass), The History of Apollonius King of Tyre, the Trojan tales of Darius Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis, the Latin narratives on Alexander the Great, and hagiographic tales compose what may be considered to comprise the genre called the “Roman novel.” This bibliographical entry focuses only on Petronius, Apuleius, and The History of Apollonius King of Tyre, which form the canon of narratives most commonly thought to represent the “Roman novel.”

Article.  9631 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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