The Author’s Narrative Strategy in the Book I of Xenophon’s “Cyropaedia”

←2018. – Vol. 13

Fedir Dovbyshchenko

PhD student

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Institute of Philology




The article deals with the text of the book I of Xenophon’s “Cyropaedia”. A brief description of the most significant previous studies of the “Cyropaedia” as a literary work is given. The text is analyzed within the frames of narratology and reader-response criticism. The theoretical base of these approaches is  shown concisely in the beginning of the article. The notions of narrator (primary, secondary, tertiary), narratee, author, reader, ideal recipient, pre-intent, lacuna, peripeteia, golden section, lingual strategy, narrative strategy are being defined as the main notions of the present investigation. The study of the author’s narrative strategy supposes a distinction between authorial and narratorial communication with its further comparison. The analysis of a double-structured communication is possible thanks to the study of the given fragment [Cyrop. I.4.27]. It draws the attention because it is unusual if compared with the rest of the book I, the narratorial communication lacks logics in this very fragment. The assumption that the fragment could be a key for understanding the authorial communication is proved by the analysis of the whole book I within the frames of narratology and reader-response criticism. Finding lacunas in reader’s reception of the text as well as observation of their place and role in each case allows to conclude that [Cyrop. I.4.27] is a cornerstone of the whole book I of the “Cyropaedia”. The lacuna this fragment provides to the reader ruins absolutely the image of Cyrus, which  the author of narration tries to persuade us to be real. It is proved that the present fragment is, in addition, a moment of peripeteia and of golden section it the structure of the book I which is similar to that of the ancient tragedy. The conclusions of the present article give way to a thorough narratological analysis of the whole “Cyporaedia” of Xenophon.

Key words: narrative strategy, narratology, reader-response criticism, authorial communication, narratorial communication, ancient Greek historiography.


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