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'Holy and pleasing to God': a narratological approach to hagiography in Jerome's 'Lives' of Paul and Malchus

Gray, C. ORCID: (2017) 'Holy and pleasing to God': a narratological approach to hagiography in Jerome's 'Lives' of Paul and Malchus. Ancient Narrative, 14. pp. 103-128. ISSN 1568-3540 (ISBN: 9789492444172)

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This article analyses the narratorial attitudes of Jerome’s fictional Lives of Paul ‘the first hermit’ and Malchus ‘the captive monk’. These works are among the first Latin examples of Christian monastic biography, or ‘hagiography’. Using the narratological categories of distance (mimetic versus diegetic) and focalisation, the article seeks to determine to what extent these texts exhibit the biased and uncritical presentation which current usage considers to be typical of hagiographical discourse. Close readings of selected passages suggest that Jerome’s narrators are flexible in their attitudes and do not impose a single, ideologically consistent, interpretation of the events narrated.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies (GCMS)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Language Text and Power
ID Code:69961
Uncontrolled Keywords:Jerome of Stridon; The Life of Paul the First Hermit; The Captive Monk; Hagiography; Narratorial Evaluation; Mimetic and Diegetic Discourse; Focalisation.


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