Poetic Influence on Prose: The Case of the Younger Seneca

H. M. Hine

in Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263327
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734168 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Poetic Influence on Prose: The Case of the Younger Seneca

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Seneca used poetic vocabulary in his prose. Such statements seem ultimately to be based on the work of Summers and Bourgery. The work of Summers is the best short introduction to Seneca’s prose style. Bourgery spread his net rather more widely than Summers, listing first phrases in Seneca’s prose that are reminiscences of specific passages of earlier Latin poets. Five general observations on the methodology used by Summers and Bourgery are shown. The chapter also takes account of these observations as it first revisits the approach of Summers and Bourgery, and then shows how different approaches can be used to look for poetic elements in Seneca’s prose. The categories of word, namely (1) words absent from both Cicero’s and Seneca’s prose, (2) words whose absence from Seneca’s prose is probably accidental, (3) words that are common in earlier prose but not found in Seneca’s prose, and (4) words mainly found in poetry, but also in Cicero’s prose, are described. There have been a number of predominantly poetic words that are used by Cicero in his prose, but not by Seneca in his; and it is seen how genre and context are important for understanding Cicero’s uses of these words.

Keywords: Seneca; poetic vocabulary; prose; Summers; Bourgery; Cicero; poetry; words

Chapter.  12503 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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