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ERIC Number: ED542568
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 225
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2673-5005-3
Cross-Language Communication in Heliodorus' "Aethiopica"
Groves, Robert William, IV
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
This dissertation analyzes why Heliodorus pays so much attention to foreign languages in the Aethiopica and how his description of these linguistic phenomena colors the work. It demonstrates that Heliodorus is very careful to attribute linguistic abilities to characters in a sensible way that is in line with real-world expectations. Characters never speak a mutual language merely because it would be convenient for the author if they could. Language also helps aid the author's characterization. Heliodorus draws upon long-standing cultural attitudes towards multilingual individuals to make his religious priests more authoritative and trustworthy and his conniving merchants even less so. Female characters with multiple languages are seen as sexually suspect, while Charikleia, the novel's heroine, preserves both her chastity and her status as a monolingual Greek speaker. Nonverbal communication is as problematic to interpret as the dreams and oracles in the novel, but spoken language doesn't present any hermeneutic problems; speech is either understood or not understood, but never misunderstood. The final book of the novel demonstrates both the limits of speech and the power of the human voice to transcend spoken language. Heliodorus' treatment of language in the novel is, as other scholars have suggested, both based on a desire for realism and an emphasis on interpretive processes, but this is not the whole story. The attribution of specific linguistic abilities to specific characters also communicates to the reader a wealth of information about those characters. Because this information is derived from the reader's expectations about language in the real world, an analysis of linguistic phenomena in the novel opens up two kinds of information. Our understanding of the novel will be better if we take into account the author's treatment of language, and the novel itself may present tantalizing glimpses into the attitudes toward language present in the culture of the author and the novel's first readers. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A