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Classics in ProgressEssays on Ancient Greece and Rome$
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T. P. Wiseman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263235

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263235.001.0001

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Ciceronian correspondences: making a book out of letters

Ciceronian correspondences: making a book out of letters

(p.103) 5 Ciceronian correspondences: making a book out of letters
Classics in Progress

Mary Beard

British Academy

This chapter exemplifies the complexities of the surviving evidence, looking at the literary works of Cicero. The Letters of Cicero are one of the most extraordinary survivals from the ancient world, and a correspondence that ranks with the great letter collections of all time, from Abelard to Virginia Woolf. This chapter is an experiment in reading those Letters in a radically old-fashioned way. It poses a question: what difference does the order in which one chooses to read it make to our literary, cultural and historical understanding of the collection? It suggests that there is a strong cultural logic in the order of the letters preserved in the manuscripts. It also examines traditional books and Letters to Atticus and to Friends.

Keywords:   Cicero, ancient world, old Classics, Cicero's Letters, Letters to Atticus

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