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Chapitre d'ouvrage

The Magnetic Stone of Love. Greek Novel and Poetry

Abstract : Greek Novels have often been investigated recently as a kind of concentrated intertextual genre, a "Symphony of texts". Their relation to Greek Poetry was not analyzed as accurately as their relation to other genres, apart from an important article by Chalk and the commentaries on Longus. The novels' heroes model themselves most often on the Iliad's Achilles whereas the novel's plot follows the Odyssean model, with a rather parodic mode in Leucippe and Clitophon. Other poetical quotations may be found, with an apparently decorative function, as Hesiod's WD. 57-8. Since the ideal form of Greek novel consists in Love stories, Greek Lyrics and Epigrammatic poetry directly correspond to the various sides and ways of expressing love needed in the Novel. As the title of this paper suggests, the metaphor of the Magnetic stone, most probably borrowed in several of our novels from tragedy and Plato, could account for the whole genre; as a symbol of love and attraction between the two lovers, this metaphor could also show how the literary genres attract each another and how the most recent borrow their word material from their predecessors. Mythological tales function in the narrative as paradigms, particularly in Daphnis and Chloe. Other mythological episodes play as a specular image. Eros is the central theme of the inserted tales and of reflexivity. As Love became the most solid refuge and hope for individuals, with the loss of a civic mindset during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the authors found in the treasure of Greek poetry the strongest feelings and expressions available for their erotic tales, and the novel became an echo chamber for literature, first through the winged child armed with a bow and arrows who is the master of the events in the incipit or who appears in the tale by Philetas in Daphnis and Chloe. Among the main poetical expressions of love, some metaphors have been traced back from the Novels to Sappho's poetry: the metaphor of Love as burning, as war, as a stinging bee, of athletics and competition –in a very subtle manner in Heliodorus– are very frequent, and enter the ritual idioms of the Lovers. The metaphor of Love as piracy appears more seldom, but its occurrence in the Greek Anthology explain its literary status. The last instance studied is the magnetism of Love: the metaphor may be traced back to the Tragic poets through Plato's quotation, and occurs at least once in the Anthology. We analyze the link of novelists to literacy and conclude that they met those devices in Greek poetry. Heliodorus had an equivalent knowledge of literature as Achilles Tatius or [Longus], but he was more subtle and able to express this type of metaphorical images directly through his narrative.
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Chapitre d'ouvrage
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Contributeur : Françoise Letoublon <>
Soumis le : mardi 8 janvier 2019 - 16:49:44
Dernière modification le : mercredi 15 juillet 2020 - 20:50:04


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Françoise Letoublon. The Magnetic Stone of Love. Greek Novel and Poetry. Edmund P. Cueva ; Shannon P. Byrne. A Companion to the Ancient Novel, Wiley-Blackwell, pp.330-351, 2014. ⟨hal-01965644⟩



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