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En busca de un mundo feliz: viaje utopía y alteridad en Historias verdaderas de Luciano de Samosata

Published inMigraciones, desplazamientos, conflictos en el mundo antiguo, Editors Cardigni, J., Frenkel, D., Manfredini, A., Sapere, A., Ventura, M., p. 211-226
PublisherBuenos Aires : Editorial de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras - Universidad de Buenos Aires
First online date2024

The crisis of the polis in the Hellenistic period (4th-3rd centuries BCE) concerning trust in the Platonic and Aristotelian ideals of an ideal city governed by reason gradually leads to the resurgence of mythological and poetic images surrounding the foundations of cities (such as Atlantis). These images will later constitute the fundamental elements of the utopian discourse of Modernity: imaginative universe, temporal location in mythical past, displacement of space towards places beyond the center-periphery relationship, and happiness expressed in abundance and a prolonged life (cf. Comparato 2006: 22). Concurrently, with the expansion of the Alexandrian and later Roman empire, new territories are incorporated, promoting the encounter and contact between distant cultures. In this sense, travel, as a means of cultural contact and a literary topos, begins to take root and lays the groundwork for the later periegetic literature of Strabo and Pausanias. The 'novelty' of the travelers' tales and discoveries of regions distant from the known world until then gives rise to texts like Lucian's True Stories (125-ca.190 CE), where the aforementioned elements combine with a dual purpose: revealing the dubious status of truth/verisimilitude in the content of these narratives and simultaneously providing a sort of intellectual 'relaxation' (HV 1,1). However, this delectare conceals other intentions inherent to the intellectual period in which the author operates, namely, the Second Sophistic: using the artifices of discourse and phantasy to offer a critical and biting look at the social and political reality of his time. Our reading hypothesis, in this regard, argues that both the journeys of the character holding the autobiographical voice and the various astonishing events and encounters between cultures and individuals woven throughout the narrative construct a utopian tale avant la lettre. This narrative specifically focuses on the polis as the object of inquiry and fiction through a constant multiperspectival gaze, such as viewing the Earth from the Moon or the sky, or the depiction of a civilized world almost bordering on the Golden Age within the belly of the whale or on various islands. Furthermore, our hypothesis relies on an interpretation of the text and its sources in a parodic and intertextual key to highlight the artifice and narrative strategies of Lucian, rendering the True Stories a truly protean work, challenging to categorize generically, whether as a novel, parody, or even a proto-science fiction narrative (cf. Gassino 2010).

  • Travel
  • Otherness
  • Utopia
  • Science fiction
  • Second Sophistic
  • Lucian of Samosata
  • Alterity
Citation (ISO format)
RIVAS, Ezequiel Gustavo. En busca de un mundo feliz: viaje utopía y alteridad en <i>Historias verdaderas </i> de Luciano de Samosata. In: Migraciones, desplazamientos, conflictos en el mundo antiguo. Buenos Aires : Editorial de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras - Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2024. p. 211–226.
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Book chapter (Published version)
  • PID : unige:176334

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