Narrator – Hero – Author in the Spiritually Beneficial Tales

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Rok publikování 2014
Druh Vyžádané přednášky
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis The spiritually beneficial tales (or edifying stories) have often been regarded as a simple and unsophisticated genre. They were closely connected to the folklore and the monastic environment predominantly rejecting the ancient literary tradition. In addition they largely included uncomplicated plots, while their style remained rather unsophisticated. Due to such features, these stories were never subjected to any metaphrastic attempts to "improve" their stylistic qualities. However, at a closer examination, their narrative structure reveals a surprising number of complex elements and different techniques in the composition of both particular tales as well as of whole collections. Thus, one of the most interesting aspects of edifying stories is the construction of the narrator's identity, in particular his relation with the heroes of the stories on the one hand and with the author (implied or real) on the other hand. In this talk I will try to pinpoint the various techniques and strategies used for the construction of narrator's identity, who, in this genre, appears as both hero and author. I will focus on three examples: first, the Historia monachorum in Aegypto, a typical example of an early stage of the genre in which the author functions on a level different than the narrators of the individual stories; here the author has the linking role in the diegesis of the first degree and he lets the various narrators of the second and third level to tell their stories rather independently from him. Second, in The Tales of Daniel Scetiotes there is no trace of the author (neither real nor implied); abba Daniel changes his role from narrator to hero, while his anonymous disciple occasionally enters in the process of narration as well. Third, in the two collections of Anastasios Sinaites the author-narrator operates entirely on the extra-diegetic level, but his frequent comments and interventions in the course of the narration leave a strong trace of his personality.
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