• The Poetics of Plot in the Egyptian and Judean Novella

    Joseph Cross (see profile)
    Egyptian language--Demotic period (Egypt), Bible. Old Testament, Novellas, Poetics, Egyptian literature, Literature, Ancient, Egyptology
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    Unviersity of Chicago
    demotic, egyptology, hebrew bible, narratology, novellas, poetics
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    This dissertation contributes to the history of storytelling literature of the ancient Eastern Mediterranean and North African world and, more specifically, advances the comparative study of the literature of Ancient Egypt and the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism, focusing on prose fiction, a promising yet neglected topic of the comparative literature of these two cultures. In the dissertation, I identify a contemporaneous genre of fiction written in both of these cultures during the Achaemenian and Hellenistic Periods which I call novellas, by analogy to the prominent genre of European literature. As a genre of fiction that is usually defined as being shorter than the novel but longer than the short story, novellas are easy to recognize among Egyptian and Judean literature of these periods, yet previous research has not given due consideration to its international basis, nor adequately differentiated the novellas in each culture from other similar genres of fiction. The basic claim of the dissertation is that the Egyptian and Judean novellas are in fact a genre that would have been recognized as such in elite, literary circles. In constructing a poetics of the plot of the Egyptian and Judean novella, I elicit a significant number of shared features which, when put together, confirm the initial identification of the genre and specify that further. The Egyptian and Judean novellas are presented as complex and engaging stories conveyed in plots that are remarkably cohesive as well as economical in their complexity, relentlessly focused and not prone to digressions or multiple plot-lines and which, most characteristically, center on a single sequences of events which resolve the central, driving conflict of the story and bring it to its conclusion.
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    1 year ago
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