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Title: The Scripted World of Petronius's "Satyrica"
Authors: Dingee, William Robert
Advisors: Bara, Yelena
Contributors: Classics Department
Keywords: Ancient Novel
Latin Literature
Subjects: Classical literature
Classical studies
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Petronius's Satyrica remains one of the great enigmas of Classical literature, with basic questionsabout the work's genre, dating, authorship, and general purpose remaining unresolved. This dissertation addresses itself to that enigma, interpreting the Satyrica as an intellectual satire in which Petronius does not target what his characters think, but rather how they think. I begin from the observation that the novel's characters frequently adopt readymade and clichéd language, thought-patterns, and behaviors that ultimately fail to respond organically to the real circumstances of the narrative. I argue that this pattern, which I term "scriptedness," is the main target of Petronius's intervention in his work, and that the phenomenon can be extended to how the Satyrica anticipates and engages with the responses of its readers. Drawing on a variety of thinkers including Henri Bergson, Viktor Shklovsky, Mikhail Bakhtin, Harold Bloom, Erich Auerbach, and others, I explore the implications of this reading across four chapters, each focusing on a different topic. The first examines Encolpius and Agamemnon's discussion of the decline of rhetoric in the opening sections of the preserved portion of the novel. The second focuses on Eumolpus's poetic theory and his sample of civil war epic. The third approaches the question of Petronius' relationship with Epicurean and Stoic philosophy, while the fourth is dedicated to his relationship with Horatian satire. Throughout the study, I use the framework of "scriptedness" to sharpen our understanding of individual cruces in the interpretation of this challenging text. I also draw on this concept to explore the role of authorial intent in hermeneutics, to argue for Petronius's distinctive place in the history of Latin literature, and to suggest some ways that Petronius may speak to our own moment in history.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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