Abstract

This article argues that in the opening of the Aethiopica Heliodorus' refashioning of the epic tradition is assimilated to Odysseus' predatory survey of the suitors' corpses in Book 22 of the Odyssey. The initial scene of the novel reenacts an Odyssean simile that compares the suitors' bodies to dead fish on a beach. Heliodorus' intricate reconfiguration of this Homeric tableau results in his self-reflexive theorizing of ecphrastic visuality and of the intertextual poetics of predation. The scanning of the remains of the (half-) dead men figures the belated novelist's reckoning of the textual resources available to him. By capitalizing on the ecphrastic power of the Odyssean simile, Heliodorus styles his devouring gaze upon Homeric epic as a paradoxical endeavor to bring a dead image to life.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3168
Print ISSN
0002-9475
Pages
pp. 581-613
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-06
Open Access
No
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