Plutarch's Parallel Lives
In the Parallel Lives Plutarch does not absolve his readers of the need for moral reflection by offering any sort of hard and fast rules for their moral judgement. Rather, he uses strategies to elicit readers' active engagement with the act of judging. This book, drawing on the insights of recent narrative theories, especially narratology and reader-response criticism, examines Plutarch's narrative techniques in the Parallel Lives of drawing his readers into the process of moral evaluation and exposing them to the complexities entailed in it. Subjects discussed include Plutarch's prefatory projection of himself and his readers and the interaction between the two; Plutarch's presentation of the mental and emotional workings of historical agents, which serves to re-enact the participants' experience at the time and thus arouse empathy in the readers; Plutarch's closural strategies and their profound effects on the readers' moral inquiry; Plutarch's principles of historical criticism in On the malice of Herodotus in relation to his narrative strategies in the Lives . Through illustrating Plutarch's narrative technique, this book elucidates Plutarch's praise-and-blame rhetoric in the Lives as well as his sensibility to the challenges inherent in recounting, reading about, and evaluating the lives of the great men of history. Chrysanthos S. Chrysanthou, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany.
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