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Aspectual Choice and the Presentation of Narrative An Application to Herodotus’ Histories
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Aspectual Choice and the Presentation of Narrative An Application to Herodotus’ Histories

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Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Abstract: In this article, I analyze how aspectual choice contributes to the presentation of... mehr
Aspectual Choice and the Presentation of Narrative An Application to Herodotus’ Histories
Abstract: In this article, I analyze how aspectual choice contributes to the presentation of Herodotus’ narrative. I argue that the choice for the imperfect versus the aorist tense for foregrounded events brings about a ‘perspectival effect’ (de Jong van den Berg 2000): while the aorist conveys an ‘external’ perspective, the imperfect suggests an ‘internal’ perspective of a character witnessing the events. I show that such an internal perspective is particularlyoften adopted at dramatic moments (e.g. battle-scenes, natural disasters, human suffering), thus supporting the thematics of the story. This ‘interpersonal’ dimension of aspectual choice is framed within a larger aspectual model, which furthermore recognizes an ‘ideational’ and a ‘textual’ dimension. I conclude the article by comparing my own approach to that of Bakker (1997), who under the heading of ‘narrative modes’ came to similar findings with regard to Thucydides.