Beyond representation: art and enargeia in Heliodorus’s Aethiopica

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This article is not the first to examine the relationship of art and text in Heliodorus’s novel. But rather than reduce the text’s engagement with visual culture to the paragone of word and image, or to the conjuring of specific object after specific object, it asks what happens if we take seriously the piling in of different media, from different periods and different places, emphasising the shifting perspectival planes and modes of engagement that these demand of the reader/viewer. Revisiting some of the most frequently discussed passages of the novel, it shows how these harness the effects of this visual culture in ways that keep the reader/viewer engaged and enargeia ‘enactive’. This is of a piece, it argues, with a text that has been described as being ‘beyond interpretation’, a text that is self-conscious about following in Philostratus’s footsteps.

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Classical Antiquity
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University of California Press
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