Individual projects in AncNar - Jonas Grethlein

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The research project "Experience and Teleology in Ancient Narrative" (AncNar) is funded by a Starting Grant awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) (FP7) 01.02.2013-31.01.2018 under grant agreement n°312321

a) ‘Futures Past’ in ancient historiography

b) Narrative and picture: Reflecting on time and space in antiquity and beyond


The first project of Jonas Grethlein focuses on Greek and Roman historiography including biography and autobiography. While much recent work has explored how ancient historians use emplotment to generate historical meaning, historiography is here interpreted as a mode of coming to grips with time. The tension between experience and teleology is identified as crucial to the recording of the past: historians can either capitalize on the benefit of hindsight and give their narratives a strongly teleological design or they may try to render the past as it was experienced by historical agents and contemporaries. An examination of this temporal dynamic in the works of various authors yields a new and sometimes surprising approach to the history of historiography, as published in Experience and Teleology in Ancient Historiography. ‘Futures Past’ from Herodotus to Augustine (CUP 2013). For a discussion of experience and historiography, see also "Experientiality and Narrative Reference. With Thanks to Thucydides." History and Theory 49, 2010: 315-335; for further thoughts on teleology, "Future Past. Time and Teleology in (Ancient) Historiography." History & Theory 53/3, 2014: 309-330; and for a broader discussion of time and historiography, "Time, Tense and Temporality in Ancient Greek Historiography." In Oxford Handbooks Online: Classical Studies 2014 (

A second project is devoted to a juxtaposition of narrative with picture as two modes of reflecting on time and space. Test-cases from antiquity, notably the novel and vase-painting, are thrown into relief through samples from contemporary film and art. Ancient narratives and pictures, it is contended, can alert us to aspects that have been downplayed in modern aesthetics. A crucial point for this project is the balance between doing justice to the historical shaping of narrative and picture and features that seem to be pervasive across cultures. First results of this project are presented in "Aesthetic experiences, ancient and modern." New Literary History 46/2, 2015: 309-333; "Is narrative 'The description of fictional mental functioning'? Heliodorus against Palmer, Zunshine, & Co." Style 49/3. 2015: 259-283; "Social minds and narrative time. Collective experience in Thucydides and Heliodorus." Narrative 23. 2015: 123-139. A monograph, Aesthetic experiences, ancient and modern. The Significance of Form in Narratives and Pictures, is forthcoming from Cambridge UP.

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Letzte Änderung: 14.03.2018
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