A number of ancient novelists were skilful storytellers and resourceful literary artists, and their works are often carefully individualised presentations of an ancient and distinguished heritage. Ancient Fiction, first published in 1984, examines the tales retold by these novelists in light of more recently discovered Near Eastern texts, and in this way offers a tentative solution to Rohde's celebrated problem about the origins of the Greek novel. Among the surprises that emerge are an ancient stratum of the Arabian Nights and a possible Tristan-Romance, as well as an animal Satyricon and a human Golden Ass. This new framework is, however, incidental to an examination of the achievements of ancient novelists in their own right. In presenting character, structuring narrative, imposing a veneer of sophistication or contriving a religious ethos, these writers demonstrate that their work is worthy of sympathetic study, rather dismissal as the pulp fiction of the ancient world.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd