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The Author's Voice in Classical and Late Antiquity$
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Anna Marmodoro and Jonathan Hill

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670567

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670567.001.0001

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An I for an I: reading fictional autobiography 1

An I for an I: reading fictional autobiography 1

Chapter:
(p.233) 8 An I for an I: reading fictional autobiography1
Source:
The Author's Voice in Classical and Late Antiquity
Author(s):

Tim Whitmarsh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670567.003.0009

This chapter begins with Augustine of Hippo’s curious assumption, in The City of God, that in The Golden Ass the claim to have been transformed into a donkey was Apuleius’, rather than that of the fictional narrator, Lucius. Why should Augustine have made such a glaring error? The chapter argues that antiquity lacked a strong sense of ‘the narrator’ (as distinct from ‘the author’). What we tend to call ‘first-person’, antiquity would have understood as ‘fictional autobiography’, in which the author illusionistically impersonates the narrating character.

Keywords:   Apuleius, The Golden Ass, fictional autobiography, Augustine

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