Kai onar kai hupar: dreaming in the ancient novel Public Deposited

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  • Dreaming in the ancient novel
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • Carlisle, David Paul Christian
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Classics
  • This dissertation is a study of dreaming as a narrative device in the eight canonical ancient novels: Chariton’s Callirhoe, Xenophon of Ephesus’ Ephesiaca, Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon, Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, Heliodorus’ Aethiopica, Petronius’ Satyrica, Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, and the anonymous Historia Apollonii. It argues that the recurrent motif of dreaming in these works is best understood as a central element in a religious structure which is characteristic of the ancient novels, and concludes that religious ideas are an important part of these novels: not as part of their message, but as a pattern of cultural expectations upon which they draw to achieve an emotional effect upon the reader. The first two chapters look at the way dreams operate purely within the narrative universe of the novels themselves. In the first chapter, evidence is presented to support the claim that dreams in the ancient novels are for the most part assumed to be divine in origin. The second chapter investigates the reasons these dreams are sent, and concludes that while they may have various roles, or even no role at all, in shaping the novels’ plots, the one constant is that they are sent for their beneficial emotional effect on the dreamer or protagonist. The third and fourth chapters ask how these functions of dreams within the novels can be connected to the role of the novels in the real world. The third chapter argues that iv the dreams have a metalingual function in relation to the novels themselves: they essentialize the novels by providing insight into their basic structures of meaning in simplified and thus more easily comprehensible form. The emotional effect and connection with the divine provided to the protagonists through their dreams is thereby offered to the reader through the novels. The fourth chapter examines these related functions of religious meaning and emotional effect, and shows how they fit into and offer evidence for the socio-historical context of the novels. It concludes with a brief examination of the dreams in each of the novels taken individually.
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  • Riess, Werner
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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