Narrative and Identity in the Ancient Greek World [Paperback]

Tim Whitmarsh (Author)

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ISBN: 9781107491021 | Published by: Cambridge University Press | Year of Publication: 2015 | Language: English 312p,

Narrative and Identity in the Ancient Greek World


This study, by a leading scholar of Greek literature and culture under the Roman empire, considers the Greek romance, those happy-ever-after tales of young love and its tribulations set in an imaginary classicising past. Whitmarsh offers a fresh reading of this genre, stressing the importance to it of the 'return narrative' (of which the Greek prototype is the homecoming of Odysseus), and seeing the plot goal of heterosexual marriage as a marker of the characters' achievement of adult identity in the social sphere. The paradigmatic return home is, however, both a symbol of transformation and the apparent restoration of a prior state. Whitmarsh views this tension between sameness and difference as a key feature of these narratives. He draws on Freudian theory to explore how the romance constructs a model of identity.

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