CLLA 402(S) Roman Letters

This course will explore the ancient Roman epistolary tradition. Through selections from the three major surviving collections of letters by Cicero, Pliny, and Seneca, as well as modern critical approaches to the genre, we will investigate the formal and stylistic conventions and innovations of Roman personal, political, and philosophical letter writing. We will also consider the problem of distinguishing real correspondence from literary fabrication, as well as issues related to self-presentation, friendship, and the role of letters in Roman public and private life. Finally, we will turn to the poetic appropriation of this tradition in Ovid's Heroides, a collection of fictional letters from mythological heroines. Format: discussion/recitation. Evaluation will be based on class participation, a midterm exam, a short paper, and a final exam. Prerequisites: Latin 202 or permission of instructor. Enrollment limit: 15 (expected:10).