Dead Letter Office? Making Sense of Greek Letter Collections

Andrew Morrison

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Abstract

The letter collections of Greco-Roman antiquity dwarf in total size all of ancient drama or epic combined, but they have received far less attention than (say) the plays of Euripides or the epics of Homer or Virgil. Although classicists have long realised the crucial importance of the order and arrangement of poems into ‘poetry books’ for the reading and reception both of individual poems and the collection as a whole, the importance of order and arrangement in collections of letters and the consequences for their interpretation have long been neglected. This piece explores some of the most important Greek letter collections, such as the Letters attributed to Plato, and examines some of the key problems in studying and editing collections of such ancient letters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages18
JournalBulletin of the John Rylands Library
Volume97
Issue number2
Early online date22 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2021

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