The Morosophistic Discourse of Ancient Prose Fiction

  • Erik Gunderson (The University of Toronto)


This essay explores a set of connections between philosophy and prose fiction. It combines a somewhat Foucauldian outlook on the question of genealogical filiation with a Bakhtinian interest in polyphony and heteroglossia. This is an overview of the various possibilities for the emplotment of the story of knowledge. The structural details of these plots inform the quality  of the knowledge that eventuates from them. In coarse terms, I am asking what it means to insist upon the novelistic qualities of Plato while simultaneously thinking about the Platonic qualities of novels. This highly selective survey starts with classical Athens, touches upon Plutarch and Lucian, and then lingers with narrative prose fiction more specifically by examining the texts of Chariton, Achilles Tatius, Heliodorus, Apuleius, and Petronius.

Keywords: prose fiction, philosophy, ancient novels

How to Cite:

Gunderson, E., (2019) “The Morosophistic Discourse of Ancient Prose Fiction”, Journal of Latin Cosmopolitanism and European Literatures 1, 56-80. doi:

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Published on
12 Jun 2019
Peer Reviewed