Fan fiction, early Greece, and the historicity of canon


  • Ahuvia Kahane Department of Classics, Royal Holloway, University of London



Censorship, Epic, Greek epigraphy, Ontology of the work of art, Orality, Surplus


The historicity of canon is considered with an emphasis on contemporary fan fiction and early Greek oral epic traditions. The essay explores the idea of canon by highlighting historical variance, exposing wider conceptual isomorphisms, and formulating a revised notion of canonicity. Based on an analysis of canon in early Greece, the discussion moves away from the idea of canon as a set of valued works and toward canon as a practice of containment in response to inherent states of surplus. This view of canon is applied to the practice of fan fiction, reestablishing the idea of canonicity in fluid production environments within a revised, historically specific understanding in early oral traditions on the one hand and in digital cultures and fan fiction on the other. Several examples of early epigraphic Greek texts embedded in oral environments are analyzed and assessed in terms of their implications for an understanding of fan fiction and its modern contexts.

Author Biography

Ahuvia Kahane, Department of Classics, Royal Holloway, University of London

Ahuvia Kahane is Professor of Greek and Head of the Department of Classics at Royal Holloway, University of London.