A narratological reading of Tacitus’ historical works
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Three 20th-century literary approaches have had a marked influence on the reception of Tacitus' historical works. The historical and textual foci of the geistesgeschichtliche and New Critical approaches, respectively, have now been replaced by reader-response criticism which acknowledges the role of the reader in the process of interpretation. Narratology, which developed from structuralist roots, is generally regarded as a rigid approach to narrative texts. In this article some examples taken from a narratological analysis of Tacitus' Historiae I, 1-49 serve to illustrate how this method can lead to a reading which affords the reader a creative role. The following narratological aspects are discussed: textual ordering, duration, frequency, characters, space and focalisation.
- Faculty of Theology