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Defining Greek Narrative$
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Douglas Cairns and Ruth Scodel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748680108

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748680108.001.0001

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‘Where do I Begin?’: An Odyssean Narrative Strategy and its Afterlife

‘Where do I Begin?’: An Odyssean Narrative Strategy and its Afterlife

(p.137) 7 ‘Where do I Begin?’: An Odyssean Narrative Strategy and its Afterlife
Defining Greek Narrative

Richard Hunter

Edinburgh University Press

The proem of Odysseus’ narrative of his adventures at Odyssey 912-18, in which he asks in what order he should tells his many troubles, was influential throughout later Greek narrative and Greek narrative theory. Beginnings were difficult not just as a problem of arrangement, but because to choose a narrative beginning is also to decide on a chain of causality. In Theocritus 2, Simaitha reflects on the origins of her love, which is a more complex question than it appears. In Heliodorus’ Aethiopica, Calisiris presents himself as an Odysseus/Proteus while also invoking Plato and the interpretive tradition. Ancient readers saw Homer and Odysseus as exceptionally close to teach other as narrators, both as fabulists and as self-conscious orderers of narrative.

Keywords:   Odysseus, Heliodorus, Theocritus, Beginnings, Causality

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