Reading the Letters of Pliny the Younger: An Introduction

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 22, 2012 - History - 350 pages
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This is the first general introduction to Pliny's Letters published in any language, combining close readings with broader context and adopting a fresh and innovative approach to reading the letters as an artistically structured collection. Chapter 1 traces Pliny's autobiographical narrative throughout the Letters; Chapter 2 undertakes detailed study of Book 6 as an artistic entity; while Chapter 3 sets Pliny's letters within a Roman epistolographical tradition dominated by Cicero and Seneca. Chapters 4-7 study thematic letter cycles within the collection, including those on Pliny's famous country villas and his relationships with Pliny the Elder and Tacitus. The final chapter focuses on the 'grand design' which unifies and structures the collection. Four detailed appendices give invaluable historical and scholarly context, including a helpful timeline for Pliny's life and career, detailed bibliographical help on over 30 popular topics in Pliny's letters and a summary of the main characters mentioned in the Letters.

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Chapter 1 Reading a life
Chapter 2 Reading a book
Chapter 3 Epistolary models
Chapter 4 Plinys elders and betters
Chapter 5 Plinys peers
Chapter 6 Otium
Chapter 7 Reading the villa letters
Appendix 1 A Pliny timeline and the great Comum inscription
Catalogue of contents and addressees
Bibliographical help
Appendix 4 List of main characters in the Letters
Index of passages
General Index

Chapter 8 The grand design

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About the author (2012)

Roy K. Gibson is Professor of Latin at the University of Manchester and the author of a commentary on Ovid, Ars Amatoria 3 (Cambridge, 2003) and Excess and Restraint: Propertius, Horace and Ovid's Ars Amatoria (2007). He is co-editor with Ruth Morello of both Re-imagining Pliny the Younger (Arethusa special number 36.2, 2003) and of Pliny the Elder: Themes and Contexts (2011). He plans to work next on a commentary on Pliny, Letters Book 6.

Ruth Morello is Lecturer in Latin at the University of Manchester, and co-editor with A. D. Morrison of Ancient Letters: Classical and Late Antique Epistolography (2007). Also in collaboration with Roy Gibson, she is co-editor of Re-imagining Pliny the Younger (Arethusa special number 36.2, 2003) and of Pliny the Elder: Themes and Contexts (2011). She is currently working on a monograph on representations of Julius Caesar in the literature of the triumviral and early imperial periods.

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