Lecture in the Research Group “Novel and Epic, Ancient and Modern”: East, West, and the Ancient Novel in the 21st Century: Scholarship and Ideology
This lecture looks at how contemporary scholarship attempts to deconstruct the East-West dichotomy in (scholarship on) the ancient Greek novel as ideologically biased – and how this attempt at deconstruction can be perceived as ideological itself.
Real or imagined, the dichotomy between West and East was a decisive factor in defining identity in ancient Greece ever since the Persian Wars. The same dichotomy has also been a matter of dispute in classical scholarship on various fronts. Inter alia, the (supposed) origin of the ancient Greek novel has often been looked upon along those lines. Recent scholarship has been attempting to unveil this dichotomy as an ideologically biased construct. In this lecture, I will sketch the broader lines of older and newer scholarship on this topic, and I will argue that contemporary scholars who attempt to unveil the East-West dichotomy in earlier novelistic scholarship as ideologically biased behave in fact equally ideologically themselves.