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Greek Laughter and TearsAntiquity and After$
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Margaret Alexiou and Douglas Cairns

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474403795

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474403795.001.0001

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Parody, Symbol and the Literary Past in Lucian

Parody, Symbol and the Literary Past in Lucian

(p.54) 4 Parody, Symbol and the Literary Past in Lucian
Greek Laughter and Tears

Calum Maciver

Edinburgh University Press

Laughter and the elicitation of laughter in Lucian are dependent principally upon the paideia which his readers require in order to unravel fully the complexity of his literary allusion and satire. Through analysis of key satirical passages in the True Histories, the Charon, the Icaromenippus and the Nigrinus, this chapter demonstrates that Lucian, and his readers, laugh at the history of interpretation, both philosophical and literary. It delves into the literariness of Lucian’s satire, and in particular his representation of the literary past as a lens for laughing at the less educated. Lucian parodies historiographical and philosophical accounts of the moon in the lunar voyages in the True Histories and Icaromenippus, undercuts allegorical accounts of the cosmos in the Charon, and proves the absurdity and shallowness of contemporary Roman pretentions of Greek paideia in the Nigrinus by parodying the pseudo-learning so much on display.

Keywords:   Lucian, Paideia, Parody, Allegory, Philosophy

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