Ciceronian correspondences: making a book out of letters

Mary Beard

in Classics in Progress

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263235
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734328 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

Ciceronian correspondences: making a book out of letters

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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

Chapter.  21168 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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