By Owen Hodkinson
The literary letter used to be probably the most flexible and well known types of writing in Greek antiquity, but one of many least generally studied this day. using the letter inside of narrative or as narrative medium is whatever which the traditional Greek literary culture confirmed as valuable to the western global (especially throughout the letters of Plato, Hippocrates and the Christian epistolographers). This quantity offers specific literary readings of quite a lot of Greek literary letter collections. via comparability of a few of the narrative recommendations taken inside of Greek epistolary texts throughout a number of genres, cultural backgrounds, and time classes, the quantity takes an important step in the direction of the appreciation of Greek epistolary collections as a distinct literary phenomenon.
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Additional info for Epistolary Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature
By Xenophon’s time, however, in spite of their relative scarcity in the texts themselves, letters are more commonplace. Deborah Gera points to many instances in Xenophon’s writings where letters are mentioned casually in passing, and argues that it is highly likely that many more real-life letters are hiding behind various forms of the verb “to send” (pempein). Letters are an important part of Xenophon’s real and fictional worlds: some of Xenophon’s letters remind us of letters in Herodotus, Thucydides, or Ctesias, while others reflect more mundane concerns and details, pointing to a greater familiarity with written communication compared with the world of the earlier historiographers.
Also Hodkinson 2007b on the Themistocles Briefroman, esp. 260–261, 268–270. introduction 19 but replaced by a meditation on the form the expected letter will take, the conventional formulae it will open with, and the recipient’s response to it:44 Dear Ms Inkytea, the other letter will start with innocuous hopes of wellbeing at reception and that my silence won’t be due to illness or some other contretemps, to be followed by five pages of electronic typewriter […] which I’ll skip to find out what in fact she’ll be wanting this time, ah, here.
Thus, for example, the letters of Euripides, composed in the Imperial period, are best compared stylistically and thematically to probably the earliest pseudonymous letter collection, that attributed to Plato, and they are therefore discussed in our Section I. But such ‘exceptions’ do not disprove the fact that there is development in literary uses of epistolary form; rather, they show that some later authors chose to keep broadly to familiar uses of the form while others had already begun to modify it in various ways.