Who Knows What? The Access to Knowledge in Ancient Novels: the Strange Cases of Chariton and Apuleius
Chariton's novel Callirhoe and the Metamorphoses of Apuleius present very different narrative strategies. However, the last book of each of these works claims to cast a clear light on and to establish a definitive truth for the meaning of its narrative. In one case, Aphrodite illumines the eighth book of Callirhoe; in the other, Isis brings all her powers of illumination to bear on the eleventh book of the Metamorphoses and brightens the previous ten books with a new dawn. But it seems that these supposed clarifications merely set the reader new and insoluble questions. Chiaroscuro is thus the natural colouration of the last books of both Callirhoe and the MetamorÂphoses.
Romain Brethes, Agrégé de Lettres Classiques and Doctor of the Universityof Paris IV-Sorbonne, is Professor of Greek language and literature in Première Supérieure at the Lycée Chateaubriand (Rennes). He has written several articles on Greek novels and his thesis, De l'idéalisme au réalisme. Une étude du comique dans le roman grec, will be published in2007 in the CARDO collection (Hélios).