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Sigrid Combüchen's Parsifal – time and memory in a dissoluting Europe. A Narrative analysis in Comparison with Aethiopica by the ancient novelist Heliodorus (300 AD).

Svensson, Bo S LU (2008) ICAN IV (Fourth International Conference on the Ancient novel: Spaces, Frontiers, Intersections)
Abstract
<p>

A comparison between the narrative technique of the ancient Greek novel, 'The Aethiopica' by Heliodorus, and Sigrid Combüchen´s modern tale 'Parsifal'.

</p>

<p>

Sigrid Combüchen is a Swedish writer, born in Germany 1943, a european 'war child'. Her tale Parsifal (1998) gives perspective of the perils in European history. She uses a historical, mythical and contemporary narrative in a genuinely inventive and thought provoking piece of fiction. Parsifal combines intertextual dialogues with the Arthurian romances, particularly Chrétien de Troyes´ Perceval, and with Greek and Roman Mythology, Plato and possibly Ovid.

</p>

<p>

She also proves... (More)
<p>

A comparison between the narrative technique of the ancient Greek novel, 'The Aethiopica' by Heliodorus, and Sigrid Combüchen´s modern tale 'Parsifal'.

</p>

<p>

Sigrid Combüchen is a Swedish writer, born in Germany 1943, a european 'war child'. Her tale Parsifal (1998) gives perspective of the perils in European history. She uses a historical, mythical and contemporary narrative in a genuinely inventive and thought provoking piece of fiction. Parsifal combines intertextual dialogues with the Arthurian romances, particularly Chrétien de Troyes´ Perceval, and with Greek and Roman Mythology, Plato and possibly Ovid.

</p>

<p>

She also proves herself to be a sharp and critical observer of cultural tendencies in postindustrial Europe, combining them with her own childhood memories from bombshelled postwar Germany.

</p>

<p>

Time, as a narrative category, pervades Combüchen´s tale in different ways. It can be exemplified in the narrative, by comparing 'Parsifal' with the ancient Greek novel 'The Aethiopica' by Heliodorus. Their masterly use of literary handicraft allows them both to play with narrative puzzles, where time can be suspended and conquered, in retrospect and in advance. This can be demonstrated on several different levels in the duration, frequency and order of time. A few examples: Both authors show an indifference to what time it takes to travel over distances. No matter how far away it is just around the corner. You will find references to the annual calendar, but the chronological time is vague and appears directed primarily by the author´s mythical imagination. Adventure-time is put at a distance from historical time, and becomes dreamlike. In the first chapter of Parsifal a network of secondary narratives can be traced besides the primary. Parallels to Heliodorus´ narrative technique are numerous by Combüchen, renouncing normal chronological order, plunging the reader in medias res, incorporating devices to convey a vision of the future, with certain facts located in the present and the past. Those are features demonstrated in Combüchen´s tale, as well as by Heliodorus. There is also a sophisticated use of prolepses, withholding or postponing information. This strategy will be interpreted as part of Combüchen´s game of secrets, leading towards the enigma of the Grail. In 'The Aethiopica' the reader´s attention is similarly manipulated by Heliodorus by his revealing of information, only when absolutely needed. Predictions in his novel are reliable only if they have a divine origin, which in my interpretation shows an archaic menthality in 'The Aethiopica'. "God´s death" (Nietzsche) is shown by Combüchen at the end of her tale as part of a circular movement of time, from autumn to spring. Instead of divine predictions she presents a fertile landscape, a flooded delta, with new possible directions: Rome was not deleted when Caesar died.

</p>

<p>

Mrs. Combüchen received an Honory Doctor´s degree at Lund University 2007 for her literary merits.

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organization
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conference name
ICAN IV (Fourth International Conference on the Ancient novel: Spaces, Frontiers, Intersections)
language
English
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yes
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be326ae0-f188-487a-93f0-48344c55bf53 (old id 1292258)
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@misc{be326ae0-f188-487a-93f0-48344c55bf53,
  abstract     = {&lt;p&gt;<br/><br>
A comparison between the narrative technique of the ancient Greek novel, 'The Aethiopica' by Heliodorus, and Sigrid Combüchen´s modern tale 'Parsifal'.<br/><br>
&lt;/p&gt;<br/><br>
&lt;p&gt;<br/><br>
Sigrid Combüchen is a Swedish writer, born in Germany 1943, a european 'war child'. Her tale Parsifal (1998) gives perspective of the perils in European history. She uses a historical, mythical and contemporary narrative in a genuinely inventive and thought provoking piece of fiction. Parsifal combines intertextual dialogues with the Arthurian romances, particularly Chrétien de Troyes´ Perceval, and with Greek and Roman Mythology, Plato and possibly Ovid.<br/><br>
&lt;/p&gt;<br/><br>
&lt;p&gt;<br/><br>
She also proves herself to be a sharp and critical observer of cultural tendencies in postindustrial Europe, combining them with her own childhood memories from bombshelled postwar Germany.<br/><br>
&lt;/p&gt;<br/><br>
&lt;p&gt;<br/><br>
Time, as a narrative category, pervades Combüchen´s tale in different ways. It can be exemplified in the narrative, by comparing 'Parsifal' with the ancient Greek novel 'The Aethiopica' by Heliodorus. Their masterly use of literary handicraft allows them both to play with narrative puzzles, where time can be suspended and conquered, in retrospect and in advance. This can be demonstrated on several different levels in the duration, frequency and order of time. A few examples: Both authors show an indifference to what time it takes to travel over distances. No matter how far away it is just around the corner. You will find references to the annual calendar, but the chronological time is vague and appears directed primarily by the author´s mythical imagination. Adventure-time is put at a distance from historical time, and becomes dreamlike. In the first chapter of Parsifal a network of secondary narratives can be traced besides the primary. Parallels to Heliodorus´ narrative technique are numerous by Combüchen, renouncing normal chronological order, plunging the reader in medias res, incorporating devices to convey a vision of the future, with certain facts located in the present and the past. Those are features demonstrated in Combüchen´s tale, as well as by Heliodorus. There is also a sophisticated use of prolepses, withholding or postponing information. This strategy will be interpreted as part of Combüchen´s game of secrets, leading towards the enigma of the Grail. In 'The Aethiopica' the reader´s attention is similarly manipulated by Heliodorus by his revealing of information, only when absolutely needed. Predictions in his novel are reliable only if they have a divine origin, which in my interpretation shows an archaic menthality in 'The Aethiopica'. "God´s death" (Nietzsche) is shown by Combüchen at the end of her tale as part of a circular movement of time, from autumn to spring. Instead of divine predictions she presents a fertile landscape, a flooded delta, with new possible directions: Rome was not deleted when Caesar died.<br/><br>
&lt;/p&gt;<br/><br>
&lt;p&gt;<br/><br>
Mrs. Combüchen received an Honory Doctor´s degree at Lund University 2007 for her literary merits.<br/><br>
&lt;/p&gt;},
  author       = {Svensson, Bo S},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Sigrid Combüchen's Parsifal – time and memory in a dissoluting Europe. A Narrative analysis in Comparison with Aethiopica by the ancient novelist Heliodorus (300 AD).},
  year         = {2008},
}