Part I General

Narratives of Failure


  • Gareth Schmeling


This paper examines successful narratives about persons who fail. These narratives of failure are viewed in two General Ways: in the first Way the failures of Petronius’ Encolpius are compared with the successes of Apu­leius’ Lucius; in the second Way there is an examination of how Bakhtinian post-adventure-time plus aftermath in his tripartite structure repositions characters, who have experienced adventures, back into a life with little ad­venture. The paper concludes by looking at the successful way in which Achilles Tatius puts the ending of his narrative at the beginning of his novel and avoids discussing how his protagonists could live happily ever after.

Gareth Schmeling is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He has written books and articles on the Greek and Latin novels, and edited the Historia Apollonii (Teubner 1988) and The Novel in the Ancient World (Brill 1996, 2003). For 35 years he edited the Petronian Society Newsletter.