Skip to main content

The Hagiographer’s Craft: Narrators and Focalisation in Byzantine Hagiography

Alwis, Anne P. (2018) The Hagiographer’s Craft: Narrators and Focalisation in Byzantine Hagiography. In: Vigiliae Christianae, Supplements Texts and Studies of Early Christian Life and Language. Brill. (In press) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

PDF - Author's Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication Download (373kB)
[img]

Abstract

This article redefines the craft of Byzantine hagiographers by using the narratological tools of voice and focalisation. Its appearance is timely as sustained discussions on narratology in Byzantine texts and images are just beginning. Part I examines the metaphrasis of Tatiana of Rome (BHG 1699b), an adapted martyrdom, to show how its reviser becomes an author by constantly appending his own evaluative judgments on his characters and by adding psychological emphasis. By using the idea of ‘voice’ and the concept of focalisation, our understanding of this rhetorical mainstay is expanded and its ‘literary’ aspects are demonstrated as well. I further contend that a sophisticated literary structure can be incorporated into the understanding of this antecedent by dividing ‘style’ and ‘literary technique’. In Part II, I provide a new approach to reading the famed 'vita' of Mary of Egypt, which is reconceptualised using the same narratological tools to demonstrate that in this particular iteration of the story, the author’s concern lies with one of hagiography’s central issues: the tentative balance between fiction and reality. Ultimately, the explorations of the metaphrasis of Tatiana and the 'vita' of Mary of Egypt clearly illustrate that both authors wished to move their audiences, to tell them what to think and how to feel; in effect, the hagiographer’s craft enabled a rhetoric of sanctity.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Byzantium, hagiography, rewriting, metaphrasis, narratology, voice, focalisation, fiction, audience, authorship.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DG Italy
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: Anne Alwis
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2018 11:41 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2019 12:55 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/70342 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Alwis, Anne P.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5688-4381
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year