Chariton’s novel, Chaereas and Callirhoe, is intensely interested not only in the emotional experience of the protagonists but also in the emotional effect the narrative has on readers. Among the many emotions depicted within the text, one stands out for its architectonic function: jealousy. Jealousy articulates the plot and propels it forward. Jealousy is also represented as a fundamentally “readerly” emotion: scenes of reading focus on the potential of written texts (letters) to stir jealous emotions. Similarly, scenes of embedded narration focus on the jealous reactions of narratees. The plot achieves closure when Chaereas learns to manage his jealousy as narratee and narrator. His experience, however, has implications also for Chariton and his readers. The text’s representation of jealousy as a narrative and textual force speaks both to the experience of writing in a culture that prizes the imitation of prestigious models and to the experience of reading a text that self-consciously hybridizes those models.
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Research Article| April 01 2022
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David F. Elmer; Textual Jealousies in Chariton’s Callirhoe. Classical Antiquity 1 April 2022; 41 (1): 180–220. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ca.2022.41.1.180
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