Morals and Villas in Seneca's Letters: Places to Dwell

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Overview

John Henderson explores three letters of Seneca describing visits to Roman villas, and surveys the whole collection of show how these villas work as designs for contrasting lives. Seneca's own place is ageing drastically; a recent Epicurean's paradise is a seductive oasis away from the dangers of Nero's Rome; once a fortress of the dour Rome of yesteryear, the legendary Scipio's lair is now a shrine to the old morality: Seneca revels in its primitive bath-house, dark and cramped, before exploring the garden with ...
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Overview

John Henderson explores three letters of Seneca describing visits to Roman villas, and surveys the whole collection of show how these villas work as designs for contrasting lives. Seneca's own place is ageing drastically; a recent Epicurean's paradise is a seductive oasis away from the dangers of Nero's Rome; once a fortress of the dour Rome of yesteryear, the legendary Scipio's lair is now a shrine to the old morality: Seneca revels in its primitive bath-house, dark and cramped, before exploring the garden with the present owner. Seneca brings the philosophical epistle to Latin literature, creating models for moralizing which feature self-criticism, parody, and reanimated myth. Virgil and Horace come in for rough handling, as the Latin moralist wrests ethical practice and writing away from Greek gurus and texts, and into critical thinking within a Roman context. Here is powerful teaching on metaphor and translation, on self-transformation and cultural tradition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521036221
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Henderson is Reader in Latin Literature at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of King's College. His recent books include: Pliny's Statue: The Letters, Self-Portraiture & Classical Art (2002), Telling Tales on Caesar: Roman Stories from Phaedrus (2001), Writing down Rome: Comedy, Satire, and Other Offences (1999), and Fighting for Rome: Poets and Caesars, History and Civil War (1998). Aesop's Human Zoo: Roman Stories About Our Bodies, and HORTVS: The Roman Gardening Book, are both forthcoming (2004).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 Twelve steps to haven. Book 1: Letters 1-11 6
2 Dropping in (it) at Seneca's. With text and translation of Letter 12 19
3 You can get used to anything. Books 2-10 28
4 The long and winding mode. Books 14-20+ 40
5 Booking us in. Letters 84-88 46
6 Now and then; here and there: at Scipio's. Text and translation of Letter 86 53
7 Bound for Vatia's. Text and translation of Letter 55 62
8 Knocking the self: genuflexion, villafication, Vatia's. Letter 55 67
9 The world of the bath-house: Scipio's. Scipio in Letter 86; with: Horace's common scents 93
10 The appliance of science: Scipio's. Aegialus in Letter 86; with: Virgil's funny farm 119
11 Shafts of light: transplantation and transfiguration. Metaphorics and visuality in Letter 86 139
12 Still olive, still Scipio's. Digging Scipio in Letter 86; with: the dirt of Seneca 158
App. 1 Here to stay. Places and persons named in the Epistulae Morales 171
App. 2 From: Letter 86 To: A Dying Light in Corduba 175
Bibliography 177
Indexes 184
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  • Posted July 6, 2014

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