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The saint as cunning heroine: rhetoric and characterization in the Passio Caeciliae

Annelies Bossu (UGent) , Koen De Temmerman (UGent) and Danny Praet (UGent)
(2016) MNEMOSYNE. 69(3). p.433-452
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Abstract
This article provides a detailed analysis of character construction in the fifth century passio Caeciliae (Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina 1495 – 1495a – 1496). Our analysis sets out to challenge the general assumption that character construction in the late antique passions can correctly be described in terms of stereotypes. The passio Caeciliae appeals to and inverts reader expectations based upon traditional patterns in erotic narrative. We also argue that it individuates the different characters (Caecilia and her fellow martyrs) by documenting one specific area of their representation, namely rhetorical ability. In this thematic area, Caecilia is set apart from her husband Valerianus: unlike him, she displays elaborate rhetorical aptness which allows her to obtain the dominant position in the marriage and to achieve her aims. Furthermore, the realm of rhetorical ability also explores notions of change, as Valerianus’ rhetorical approach changes in the course of the passion. Our analysis suggests that this passio from a literary point of view constitutes a more interesting text than is generally assumed.
Keywords
ERCnovelsaints, ancient narrative, hagiography, late antiquity, Characterization, Caecilia, rhetoric

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Chicago
Bossu, Annelies, Koen De Temmerman, and Danny Praet. 2016. “The Saint as Cunning Heroine: Rhetoric and Characterization in the Passio Caeciliae.” Mnemosyne 69 (3): 433–452.
APA
Bossu, A., De Temmerman, K., & Praet, D. (2016). The saint as cunning heroine: rhetoric and characterization in the Passio Caeciliae. MNEMOSYNE, 69(3), 433–452.
Vancouver
1.
Bossu A, De Temmerman K, Praet D. The saint as cunning heroine: rhetoric and characterization in the Passio Caeciliae. MNEMOSYNE. Brill; 2016;69(3):433–52.
MLA
Bossu, Annelies, Koen De Temmerman, and Danny Praet. “The Saint as Cunning Heroine: Rhetoric and Characterization in the Passio Caeciliae.” MNEMOSYNE 69.3 (2016): 433–452. Print.
@article{4285288,
  abstract     = {This article provides a detailed analysis of character construction in the fifth century passio Caeciliae (Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina 1495 -- 1495a -- 1496). Our analysis sets out to challenge the general assumption that character construction in the late antique passions can correctly be described in terms of stereotypes. The passio Caeciliae appeals to and inverts reader expectations based upon traditional patterns in erotic narrative. We also argue that it individuates the different characters (Caecilia and her fellow martyrs) by documenting one specific area of their representation, namely rhetorical ability. In this thematic area, Caecilia is set apart from her husband Valerianus: unlike him, she displays elaborate rhetorical aptness which allows her to obtain the dominant position in the marriage and to achieve her aims. Furthermore, the realm of rhetorical ability also explores notions of change, as Valerianus{\textquoteright} rhetorical approach changes in the course of the passion. Our analysis suggests that this passio from a literary point of view constitutes a more interesting text than is generally assumed.},
  author       = {Bossu, Annelies and De Temmerman, Koen and Praet, Danny},
  issn         = {0026-7074},
  journal      = {MNEMOSYNE},
  keyword      = {ERCnovelsaints,ancient narrative,hagiography,late antiquity,Characterization,Caecilia,rhetoric},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {433--452},
  publisher    = {Brill},
  title        = {The saint as cunning heroine: rhetoric and characterization in the Passio Caeciliae},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1568525X-12341838},
  volume       = {69},
  year         = {2016},
}

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