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Ancient Epistolary Fictions
The Letter in Greek Literature
A comprehensive look at fictive letters in Greek literature from Homer to Philostratus, first published in 2001. It includes both embedded epistolary narratives in a variety of genres (epic, historiography, tragedy, the novel), and works consisting solely of letters, such as the pseudonymous letter collections and the invented letters of the Second Sophistic. The book challenges the notion that Ovid 'invented' the fictional letter form in his Heroides and considers a wealth of Greek antecedents for the later European epistolary novel tradition. Epistolary technique always problematizes the boundaries between fictionality and reality. Based on a process of selection and self-censorship, the letter is a construction, not a reflection, of reality. The author bypasses the question of sincerity for a close look at epistolary self-representation, the function of the letter form and the nature of the relationship between writer and reader in a wide range of ancient Greek texts.
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