By Patricia A. Rosenmeyer
The 1st referenece to letter writing happens within the first textual content of western literature, Homer's Iliad. From the very starting, Greeks have been enthusiastic letter writers, and letter writing turned a unique literary style. Letters have been incorporated within the works of historians yet additionally they shaped the foundation of works of fiction, and the formal substructure for plenty of different types of poem. Patricia Rosenmeyer, an expert at the historical past of the Greek letter, assembles during this publication a consultant number of such 'literary letters', from Aelian and Alciphron to Philostrartus and the meant letters of Themistocles. The booklet can be helpful for all scholars of Greek literature particularly these learning Greek (and Latin) letter.
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Extra resources for Ancient Greek Literary Letters: Selections in Translation (Routledge Classical Translations)
The authors of this period transferred favorite themes and devices from epideictic rhetoric to the written page. Some continued to embed their letters in other narrative forms, as their classical forebears had done; we will read examples of this approach in the chapter below. Others, like the anonymous author of Chion of Heraclea, removed the narrative frame and wrote a series of connected letters that could be read as a novella; and yet others chose to write collections of single letters in the voices of other people, whether historical (“Plato”) or invented (“an Athenian farmer”).
Satyrus answered: “I’m no smarter than you are, but I suspect the god of Love himself will dictate the words. ” So I started to write: Clitophon greets Leucippe. Greetings, my mistress, Leucippe. I’m sad and happy at the same time, because the letter shows you present even though I know you’re still absent from me. If you can wait for the truth to be told instead of convicting me ahead of time, you’ll ﬁnd out that I’ve imitated your virginity, if there is such a thing as virginity for men. But if you already hate me, without hearing my explanation, I swear by the gods who saved you that soon I’ll explain the whole affair.
The authors of the Second Sophistic were fascinated by the power of writing itself, and we can see this clearly reﬂected in their experimentation with embedded epistolary forms as yet another way to vary narrative voice, introduce plot twists, and play with modes of communication between separated lovers. More than in any other genre, the letter seems comfortably at home in the novel, whether it is used for insight into a character’s emotions or more kinetically (Altman 1982: 7–8; Jost 1966), as a means to instigate the action itself.
Ancient Greek Literary Letters: Selections in Translation (Routledge Classical Translations) by Patricia A. Rosenmeyer