Divide and Rule: Segmenting Callirhoe and Related Works

  • Tim Whitmarsh


This paper explores the role of book divisions in the Greek novels, particularly Chariton’s Callirhoe. The argument is partly that divisions occur at significant moments in the text, and particularly interesting cases arise at the crossing of geographical boundaries. But they do not merely lend inert structure to narrative; they are also prompts to the reader to start reaching for coherence, to start mastering the profusion of textual detail. From this perspective, structure is not simply a feature of narrative, but also, and more pungently, an effect of readerly cognition.

Tim Whitmarsh is E.P. Warren Praelector at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. His publications include Greek Literature and the Roman Empire: the Politics of Imitation (Oxford University Press, 2001), The Second Sophistic (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and (edited) The Cambridge Companion to the Greek and Roman Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2008).