While the ancient Greek novels have been shown to absorb preceding Greek and eastern traditions, not much systematic attention has been paid to how they use, address or confront preceding Latin traditions. This project is designed to fill this gap, a course of action supported (even invited) by recent scholarship that (rightly) challenges unidirectional conceptualizations of the influence of Greek on Latin literature.
This project aims at a systematic analysis of the presences (in different forms) of a number of Latin literary genres in the Greek novels that have come down to us (i.e. the five extant novels, the fragments and a number of so-called ‘fringe novels’). The driving research hypothesis is that Greek novels to varying degrees and in different ways address, respond to and make creative use of not just Greek and eastern narrative traditions but also of Latin ones, and, more specifically, that they use Latin narrative traditions in order to (a) conceptualize the intertwined notions of love and heroism, and (b) develop metaliterary thoughts about the generic encoding underlying these notions. Its method is defined by three stages: (1) taking stock of overlaps, (2) interpreting/conceptualizing them, and exploring metaliterary strategies. Given the project’s approach, it impacts the study of both Greek and Latin (meta)literature, and that of fiction.