Playing the Man: Performing Masculinities in the Ancient Greek Novel (Oxford Studies in Classical Literature and Gender Theory)

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9780199570089: Playing the Man: Performing Masculinities in the Ancient Greek Novel (Oxford Studies in Classical Literature and Gender Theory)
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Despite the growth of research on masculinity in both Gender and Classical Studies, and the resurgence of interest in ancient fiction, no volume has yet been devoted to exploring the representation of masculinity in ancient Greek novels. This ground-breaking study examines and contextualizes three key discourses of ancient Greek masculinity -- paideia, andreia, and sexual ideology -- as evidenced in the five "ideal" Greek novels (namely those of Chariton, Xenophon of Ephesus, Achilles Tatius, Longus, and Heliodorus).

Jones argues that while some of the narratives may be set in the classical past, the masculine concerns they display are inescapably symptomatic of the imperial present, reflecting some of the "gender troubles" of the real world of their authors. Using modern theories of the "performance" of gender as tools for analysis, the study finds that many of the novels' men betray an awareness that their masculine identities depend on the maintenance of their image before others -- they are conscious of "playing the man." The book also puts forward the hypothesis that, while most of the authors uphold accepted scripts of masculinity, Achilles Tatius constructs Cleitophon as a "misperformer" of masculinity as a means of challenging and subverting traditional codes of gender.

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Meriel Jones was Lecturer in Classics at the University of Wales Lampeter from 2006-8, and is a founder-member of KYKNOS, the Swansea and Lampeter ancient narrative research centre. Her doctoral thesis, Playing the Man: Performing Masculinities in the Greek Novel, was joint winner of the Hellenic Foundation 2007 Award for best doctoral thesis in the Ancient Literature, Philosophy, and Archaeology category. She has published on gender, ekphrasis, magic, and personal names in the Greek novels, and is currently Honorary Research Fellow of the Department of Classics at University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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