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Ancient LettersClassical and Late Antique Epistolography$
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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

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Better than Speech: Some Advantages of the Letter in the Second Sophistic *

Better than Speech: Some Advantages of the Letter in the Second Sophistic *

(p.283) 12 Better than Speech: Some Advantages of the Letter in the Second Sophistic*
Ancient Letters

Owen Hodkinson

Oxford University Press

This chapter suggests some ways of thinking about the epistolary genre and its development in Greek literature, focusing on some particular examples from ‘Second Sophistic’ epistolographers who built upon and added to these developments. Taking examples from fictional letters in which there seems to be no obstacle to verbal communication, this chapter argues that they do not constitute lapses in verisimilitude on the author's part; rather, such letters add variety to the imagined situations of their letter-writers, allowing the reader to reconstruct possible motives for writing where none is mentioned. The authors thus illustrate some potential advantages of the letter over verbal communication.

Keywords:   Second Sophistic, ancient letters, epistolary genre, Greek literature, Aelian, Alciphron

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