The introduction defines the Greek love novel, or ‘ideal’ novel, and considers its relation to other strains of Graeco‐Roman prose fiction. It reviews the history and the current relevance of enquiries into the origins of the Greek love novel and suggests a generic model based on individual emulations and variations as an alternative to the predominant idea of an abstract novelistic matrix. A description of the methodological approach of the book is provided, which consists of the combination of arguments from literary history on the one hand and from Chariton's poetics, implied in his metaliterary self‐references, on the other. A preview of the course of the investigation gives readers an idea of the main points to follow and helps them navigate through the following chapters.
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