Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
Historical Poetics : Chronotopes in "Leucippe and Clitophon" and "Tom Jones"
- This paper forms part of a larger, ongoing project, to investigate how certain narrative possibilities that seem to have crystallized for the first time in the ancient Greek novel have proved persistent and productive over time, undergoing subtle transformations during formative later periods in the history of the genre, notably the twelfth century (simultaneously in Old French and in Byzantine Greek) and the eighteenth (the time when, according to a narrower definition, the novel is said to originate). For the present, my more limited aim is to revisit the two main essays in which Bakhtin’s theory of the chronotope (and of the “historical poetics” of the novel) are developed, and to extrapolate what seem to me to the most significant and productive lines of his approach, both in general, and with specific reference to the ancient Greek novel. I will then attempt simultaneously to apply and to modify Bakhtin’s model, in the light of a reading of Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon and with reference to previous critiques. The final part of the paper examines how this approach can be productive for a reading of a much later text, often regarded as “foundational” for the modern development of the genre, especially in English, Fielding’s Tom Jones (1749).