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Two Novels from Ancient Greece: Chariton's Callirhoe and Xenophon of Ephesos' An Ephesian Story: Anthia and Habrocomes (Hackett Classics)

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ISBN-13: 978-1603841931
ISBN-10: 1603841938
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Editorial Reviews


Since these texts first found their way into the mainstream of Classics instruction twenty years ago, the need for new translations has become obvious, not only because of the textual and theoretical advances made in the interim, but because of demand for examining them in broader contexts. For both surveys of Greek and Roman literature and courses on the history of prose fiction, that demand has now been elegantly met. Trzaskoma's translation, based on greatly improved Greek texts, shows a sophisticated appreciation of the range in vocabulary and tone within Chariton, and similarities and differences in style between Chariton and Xenophon become easily apparent. Chariton may be a naïve romance by some classifications, but the text's intertextual dimensions, described in a helpful introduction that avoids prescribing how to interpret these texts, are now made much clearer. The copious annotations not only provide topical references but also mark the wide range of literary allusions and parallels. From every angle these texts have received a detailed rethinking. The Chariton and Xenophon I thought I knew have become much richer and more compelling texts. Any student of the ancient novel, and any teacher wanting to create more students of the ancient novel, needs to read this book. --Joel C. Relihan, Professor of Classics, Wheaton College (Norton, Mass.)

I enjoyed this edition very much--the translations are readable while maintaining a strong sense of the originals. The introduction materials are informative and accessible making this text suitable for undergraduate teaching. I also appreciate the formatting—with cultural information and allusions to other authors in footnote and more technical information on the manuscript in endnote. A helpful bibliography is also included. --Kristen Day, Augustana College

Accurate and fresh translations of the two earliest Greek novels. . . . A keen textual critic himself, Trzaskoma has published a number of contributions on the novels, offering improvements to the text and identifying additional allusions to classical authors. He includes endnotes to both translations detailing his own conjectures and differences with Reardon and Sullivan, all of which bespeaks a complete reexamination of the texts in preparation for his translations. Although . . . designed for undergraduate courses where these novels will be read by Greekless students, every effort has been made to provide as much information about difficulties in the texts as possible, so these translations will be useful to those interested in the Greek text as well. An unpretentious introduction that will be very appropriate and useful to students reading ancient novels for the first time covers judiciously the major issues relevant to getting started with these stories. . . . It is valuable to read [these two novels] together, and this new text will make that easy and inexpensive to do. --Stephen A. Nimis, Miami University, in The Bryn Mawr Classical Review

About the Author

Stephen M. Trzaskoma is Associate Professor of Classics, The University of New Hampshire.


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Product Details

  • Series: Hackett Classics
  • Library Binding: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (March 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603841938
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603841931
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,832,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven Davis on April 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The two works in this volume are the oldest known pieces of prose fiction to which we might reasonably apply the term "novels." Some scholars prefer the term "romances," but by either name they represent the emergence of the narrative form that now dominates our literature. Nothing whatsoever is known about the two authors except what can be deduced from these two works: that they both lived in the Hellenistic world sometime around the end of the 1st Century.

Though there is no direct link between them, the two stories have remarkably similar plots, suggesting perhaps a common oral tradition leading to a number of variations and imitations. In both stories a young Greek couple, each one being of striking physical beauty, meets and marries. Soon, however, misfortune strikes, separating them and sending each on a perilous odyssey across the Mediterranean, not knowing if their beloved spouse is alive or dead. In each case the young lady is taken for dead at one point and wakes to find herself in a tomb. In each story the young man is crucified for a crime of which he is innocent, only to be rescued at the last minute.

Callirhoe is the longer, more elaborate, and much the better of the two stories. It is set at the end of the Peloponnesian War and begins in Sicily in the city of Syracuse, which is celebrating its great victory over the Athenians. Callirhoe, the daughter of the city's greatest general, has come of age and is so beautiful that suitors are besieging her home for her hand. Not among them is Chaireas, the most handsome youth and son of the second most powerful man in Syracuse, because their respective fathers are political rivals. But when the two accidentally meet, it is love at first sight.
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Two Novels from Ancient Greece: Chariton's Callirhoe and Xenophon of Ephesos' An Ephesian Story: Anthia and Habrocomes (Hackett Classics)
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