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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines various types of interconnection between rhetoric and fiction in the Roman Imperial period. On the simplest level, the results of the intense training in rhetorical technique are visible in Greek and Latin novels in courtroom scenes and speeches but also in the broader techniques of storytelling, particularly character portrayal (ethopoēia) and vivid narration (enargeia). These have the effect of drawing readers into the world depicted and increasing its likeness to truth (verisimilitude). As this suggests, there is a deeper connection between rhetoric and fiction in that both aim to depict coherent worlds, and it is in the domain of rhetoric that reflections about verisimilitude in narrative are to be found. In the Roman world, these affinities between rhetoric and fiction were developed further through the exercise of declamation. This chapter analyses some passages from ancient novels, including those by Apuleius and Petronius, to see how rhetoric is used not only as an aid to composition but also as a means of exploring the very notion of fiction and its relation to reality.

Keywords: Rhetoric, fiction, Greek and Latin novels, ethopoēia, enargeia, verisimilitude, declamation, Apuleius, Petronius

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