Reading Fiction with Lucian. Fakes, Freaks and Hyperreality, written by ní Mheallaigh, K.

In: Mnemosyne

Karen ní Mheallaigh takes a large-scale look not only on Lucian, but on imperial literature and culture as a whole, proposing that there is a large and omnipresent interest in what Umberto Eco has called ‘hyperreality’: to give torsi, fragments, relics and all that seems to count in constituting cultural tradition, a new, splendent and overwhelmingly ‘real’ allure by making perfect copies, fakes. Evidently there must be, then, a strong intellectual occupation with questions about both the status of reality and fictionality and the ‘making of’, i. e. ‘mimesis’, as a way of dealing with the past, of controlling and reshaping it. Ní Mheallaigh particularly reflects on implicit and motivic ways of addressing such questions in literary and scientific texts. There emerges a postmodern openness of meaning and an epistemological fascination by materiality of media, as well as by the status of readers. The following review article tries to recapitulate the main positions of the book and to challenge some of them.

  • 1

    Ollier, F. 1962. Lucien. Histoire vraie. Édition introduction et commentaire (Paris).

  • 2

    Georgiadou, A., Larmour, D. 1998. Lucian’s Science Fiction Novel True Histories. Interpretation and Commentary (Leiden).

  • 3

    von Möllendorff, P. 2000. Auf der Suche nach der verlogenen Wahrheit. Lukians ‘Wahre Geschichten’ (Tübingen).

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