The Alexander Romance: History and Literature
The†Alexander Romance†is a difficult text to define and to assess justly. From its earliest days it was an open text, which was adapted into a variety of cultures with meanings that themselves vary, and yet seem to carry a strong undercurrent of homogeneity: Alexander is the hero who cannot become a god, and who encapsulates the desires and strivings of the host cultures.
The papers assembled in this volume, which were originally presented at a conference at the University of Wrocław, Poland, in October 2015, all face the challenge of defining the†Alexander Romance. Some focus on quite specific topics while others address more overarching themes. They form a cohesive set of approaches to the delicate positioning of the text between history and literature. From its earliest elements in Hellenistic Egypt, to its latest reworkings in the Byzantine and Islamic Middle East, the†Alexander Romance†shows itself to be a work that steadily engages with such questions as kingship, the limits of human (and Greek) nature, and the purpose of history. The Romance began as a history, but only by becoming literature could it achieve such a deep penetration of east and west.
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