Beauty as Fiction in Leucippe and Clitophon

  • Nicholas Kauffman


In this paper, I argue that Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Clitophon questions the apparently fabulous beauty of its heroine. While the other novelists tend to present their protagonists as intrinsically and objectively beautiful, Achilles allows the reader to see the ways in which Leucippe's beauty is constructed within and by the narrative itself. In so doing, he can be understood as both criticizing the narrator—who is thus revealed to be even more partial and unreliable than has been recognized—and offering commentary on the genre itself.

Nicholas Kauffman recently earned his PhD from the Department of Classics at Johns Hopkins University, with a dissertation entitled Rereading Death: Ethics and Aesthetics in the Ancient Reception of Homeric Battle Narrative. He is currently a Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow at Valparaiso University.