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Perpetua's PassionsMultidisciplinary Approaches to the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis$
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Jan N. Bremmer and Marco Formisano

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199561889

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199561889.001.0001

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Perpetua’s Martyrdom and the Metamorphosis of Narrative

Perpetua’s Martyrdom and the Metamorphosis of Narrative

Chapter:
(p.291) XV Perpetua’s Martyrdom and the Metamorphosis of Narrative
Source:
Perpetua's Passions
Author(s):

David Konstan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199561889.003.0018

This chapter presents a reading of the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis and Xenophon of Ephesus’ Ephesiaca. It shows that the Passio Perpetuae has a form that is not wholly alien to that of the romantic novel. Greek novels celebrate the love and fidelity between a man and a woman who endure a separation and hardships that test their mutual commitment, and mark as well their transition to adulthood and the establishment of a family of their own. In both narratives the heroines undergo fierce torments, which do not succeed in breaking their will. Perpetua shares with the heroes and heroines of the novels a capacity for endurance, which rests on fidelity to a moral commitment that their trials put to the test. The final triumph is manifested differently in the two narratives: but there is a common sensibility of suffering and deliverance that unites them.

Keywords:   Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis, romantic novel, Greek novels, Xenophon, Ephesiaca, narratives

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