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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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The Importance of Form in Seneca's Philosophical Letters

The Importance of Form in Seneca's Philosophical Letters

(p.133) 5 The Importance of Form in Seneca's Philosophical Letters
Ancient Letters

Brad Inwood

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines what makes Seneca's philosophical letters work the way they do for their readers and why they were written the way they were. In this discussion, it is suggested that some of the striking features of the letters owe more than has yet been appreciated to the influence of the models Seneca had in view when he composed the collection and the formal constraints imposed by the epistolary genre. Based on Seneca's character and motivation, the chapter explores why he wrote in epistolary form, or why, at the end of a long life and a long and tumultuous political career, and (perhaps most relevant) at the end of a brilliant literary career of unmatched versatility, he wrote letters in the first place.

Keywords:   Seneca, ancient letters, epistolary form, Epicurus, writing style, philosophy, literature

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