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Late Antique Letter CollectionsA Critical Introduction and Reference Guide$
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Cristiana Sogno, Bradley K. Storin, and Edward J. Watts

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520281448

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520281448.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021

Introduction Greek and Latin Epistolography and Epistolary Collections in Late Antiquity

Introduction Greek and Latin Epistolography and Epistolary Collections in Late Antiquity

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Greek and Latin Epistolography and Epistolary Collections in Late Antiquity
Source:
Late Antique Letter Collections
Author(s):

Cristiana Sogno

Bradley K. Storin

Edward J. Watts

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520281448.003.0001

This chapter introduces the reader to the book as a whole. The volume establishes a few basic starting points for interpreting late antique letters and letter collections. First, it rejects the letter/epistle dichotomy established by Adolf Deissmann in the early 20th century in favor of a much broader conception of the epistolary genre. Second, it insists that readers conceive of authorship, complete with generic design and self-presentational concerns, in relation to the editorial activity of compiling late antique letter collections. Third, it suggests that the engine driving the popularity of letter collections was the dramatic increase in civil and military bureaucracy beginning in the 4th century. Social competition was in full force, and letter collections offered new tools with which elites could construct novel self-presentations.

Keywords:   Cristiana Sogno, Bradley K. Storin, Edward J. Watts, letters, epistolography, letter collections, macrotext

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