Elizabeth Hazelton Haight (essay date 1943)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lucian and His Satiric Romances: The True History and Lucias or Ass" in Essays on the Greek Romances, Kennikat Press, 1965, pp. 144-85.

[In the following excerpt from a work originally published in 1943, Haight discusses Lucian's style and use of parody in his True History.]

… Gildersleeve was probably right in calling the True History "a comic sequel to a brilliant essay entitled 'How to write History.'"29 The traditional manuscript order which places the True History after How History Should Be Written seems so aptly prompted by Lucianic irony. For this romance in two books is not history at all and has nothing...

(The entire section is 2663 words.)

Barry Baldwin (essay date 1973)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Six Gods and Men" in Studies in Lucian, A. M. Hakkert, Ltd., 1973, pp. 97-118.

[In the following excerpt, Baldwin discusses Lucian's connection to religious developments and social unrest during his lifetime.]

…Apart from Christians and Jews, Lucian took stock of the major religious phenomena of his age. The Dialogues of the Gods clearly can have their literary antecedents traced back beyond Plato and Xenophanes to Homer. These, and the Menippus pieces, make obvious mock of the anthropomorphic approach to religion. The theme was not new; and not exhausted.24 The Dialogues of the Dead were a handy vehicle for timely jests on...

(The entire section is 4888 words.)

Graham Anderson (essay date 1976)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Characterisation" in Lucian: Theme and Variation in the Second Sophistic, E. J. Brill, 1976, pp. 67-84.

[In the following excerpt, Anderson discusses Lucian's tendency to reuse character descriptions, plot situations, and other material.]

Lucian manipulates his characters as easily as he contrives his stories or plots; here again he is content to play a facile game with a few basic types. He may use the same character under several different names, so that there is often little distinction between Cyniscus, Diogenes and Menippus,1 between Diogenes and Socrates,2 or between Croesus and Megapenthes.3 Nor does he always present...

(The entire section is 6758 words.)

Graham Anderson (essay date 1976)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Toxaris and Philopseudes," "The Onos: The Greek Frame-Story" in Studies in Lucian's Comic Fiction, E. J. Brill, 1976, pp. 12-49.

[In the first section of the following excerpt, Anderson discusses the sources and structure of Lucian 's True History and Toxaris. In the second section, he discusses the themes, techniques, and authorship of Lucius, or The Ass.]

… Among Lucian's narratives the Toxaris has been almost wholly neglected. It is too late to offer much information for the history of the Greek novella; and scholars have been deterred from looking too far afield for sources,2 when Lucian himself claims...

(The entire section is 7014 words.)

Douglas Duncan (essay date 1979)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lucian," in Ben Jonson and the Lucianic Tradition, Cambridge University Press, 1979, pp. 9-25.

[In the following excerpt, Duncan discusses the playfully detached viewpoint Lucian adopts throughout his works.]

From the late fifteenth century until well into the nineteenth, Lucian held his place among the most widely translated and imitated of Greek authors. He later came to be banished from the pantheon of nineteenth-century Hellenism, partly because he was a 'silver' Greek—or rather not a Greek at all but a Syrian of the second century A.D. who had copied the styles of an earlier age—but mainly because of his ambiguous attitude toward the nobler ideals of...

(The entire section is 6895 words.)

Christopher Robinson (essay date 1979)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "I: Lucian: the Man and the Work—Ingenuity and Humour" in Lucian and His Influence in Europe, The University of North Carolina Press, 1979, pp. 20-45.

[In the following excerpt, Robinson discusses Lucian's use of such literary forms as parody, pastiche, and satire, as well as his handling of invective, burlesque, and irony.]

… If there is one relatively clear-cut division between the works, it is quite simply between those whose principal effect is humour, and those whose principal effect is ingenuity. The second category contains the eleven prolaliai and the pieces which can be assigned to one rhetorical genre, Disowned, The Tyrannicide, Phalaris...

(The entire section is 11012 words.)

F. Anne Payne (essay date 1981)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lucian as Menippean Satirist" in Chaucer and Menippean Satire, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1981, pp. 38-54.

[In the following excerpt, Payne surveys Lucian's Menippean satires, focusing on their exuberant mockery of philosophy, religion, and life in general.]

Lucian's works provide a focal point for assessing the traits of Menippean satire, not only because numbers of complete dialogues, labeled Menippean, survive, but also because his interest in philosophy and philosophers and the problems and abuses of both makes his works an obvious parallel to and possible source of Boethius' Consolation.1 Which of Lucian's individual works are...

(The entire section is 6939 words.)

R. Bracht Branham (essay date 1989)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Rhetoric of Laughter" in Uruly Eloquence: Lucian and the Comedy of Traditions, Harvard University Press, 1989, pp. 11-37.

[In the following excerpt, Branham discusses the seriocomic nature of Lucian's works.]

Few men, I believe, do more admire works of those great Masters who have sent their Satire (if I may use the Expression) laughing into the World. Such are that great Triumvirate, Lucian, Cervantes, and 5wift. These authors I shall ever hold in the highest Degree of Esteem; not indeed for that Wit and Humour alone which they all so eminently possess, but because they all endeavored, with the utmost Force of their Wit and Humour to...

(The entire section is 8883 words.)