The Gift of Correspondence in Classical Rome: Friendship In Cicero's Ad Familiares And Seneca's…

Paperback | August 6, 2012

byAmanda Wilcox

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Amanda Wilcox offers an innovative approach to two major collections of Roman letters—Cicero’s Ad Familiares and Seneca’s Moral Epistles—informed by modern cross-cultural theories of gift-giving.
    By viewing letters and the practice of correspondence as a species of gift exchange, Wilcox provides a nuanced analysis of neglected and misunderstood aspects of Roman epistolary rhetoric and the social dynamics of friendship in Cicero’s correspondence. Turning to Seneca, she shows that he both inherited and reacted against Cicero’s euphemistic rhetoric and social practices, and she analyzes how Seneca transformed the rhetoric of his own letters from an instrument of social negotiation into an idiom for ethical philosophy and self-reflection. Though Cicero and Seneca are often viewed as a study in contrasts, Wilcox extensively compares their letters, underscoring Cicero’s significant influence on Seneca as a prose stylist, philosopher, and public figure.

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Amanda Wilcox offers an innovative approach to two major collections of Roman letters—Cicero’s Ad Familiares and Seneca’s Moral Epistles—informed by modern cross-cultural theories of gift-giving.    By viewing letters and the practice of correspondence as a species of gift exchange, Wilcox provides a nuanced analysis of neglected and m...

Amanda Wilcox is assistant professor of classics at Williams College in Massachusetts. She specializes in late republican and early imperial Latin prose, with interests in epistolography, ethics, and representations of grief and friendship.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:August 6, 2012Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029928834X

ISBN - 13:9780299288341

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Part One: Cicero

The Social Life of Letters

1 Euphemism and Its Limits

2 Consolation and Competition

3 Absence and Increase

4 Recommendation

Part Two: Seneca

Commercium Epistularum: The Gift Refigured

5 From Practice to Metaphor

6 Rehabilitating Friendship

7 Redefining Identity—Persons, Letters, Friends

8 Consolation and Community

Notes

Bibliography

Index of Passages

General Index

Editorial Reviews

“Wilcox describes a ‘logic of practice’ for Roman letter-writing, reveals the contests and strategies at play in Cicero’s exchanges with his friends, and demonstrates that Seneca created his new genre of ‘moral letters’ through a brilliant short-circuiting of the forms and values of the epistolary system.”—James Ker, author of The Death of Seneca