Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Ancient LettersClassical and Late Antique Epistolography$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Ruth Morello and A. D. Morrison

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199203956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199203956.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 December 2020

Alciphron's Epistolarity *

Alciphron's Epistolarity *

(p.257) 11 Alciphron's Epistolarity*
Ancient Letters

Jason König

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Alciphron's Letters, which portray a world of longing and loss, a world of fragile happiness and comic disillusionment. There are four books: Letters from Fishermen, Farmers, Parasites, and Courtesans. Each of those four groups reveals through its letters its own desires and sufferings, its own extravagant dreams and bathetic failures. Two themes (as far as they can be separated) are particularly prominent: precarious or failed aspiration to material gain, love, or physical comfort; and precarious or failed aspiration to social advancement or role-swapping. The second of those preoccupations leads to an impression of interconnection between the different parts of the work, in the many letters where characters express their desire to cross from membership of one group to another. The unrealistic character of the characters' dreams is matched by the inaccessibility and unreality of Alciphron's world for its readers. This chapter asks how far the text's epistolary form works to intensify its thematic obsessions, with a particular emphasis on formal issues using the work of Janet Altman as a starting-point.

Keywords:   Alciphron, epistolarity, ancient letters, Oxyrhynchus Papyri, unanswered letters, epistolary naming

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .