Cicero's Correspondence: A Literary Study

Cicero's Correspondence: A Literary Study

Cicero's Correspondence: A Literary Study

Cicero's Correspondence: A Literary Study


This study breaks new ground in exploring the letters of Cicero, one of the most important Latin prose writers, whose letters have remained unaccountably neglected. The volume shows that Cicero's letters should be regarded as artistic works, of no less value for being bound up with personal situations, providing a remarkable insight into contemporary culture and literature. All Latin in the text is translated.


This is not a book covering every aspect, or even every literary aspect, of Cicero's and his correspondents' letters. It is merely an exploratory essay, which I hope may stimulate interest in works that very much deserve and need it. They are far more significant works, in all kinds of ways, than is commonly realized; and study of them bears rich rewards.

Writing this book has been unusually pleasurable, and I am eager to thank my numerous benefactors. Dr Miriam Griffin very generously read and commented on the successive chapters as I produced them (no doubt with irritating regularity). Her ideas and her encouragement have been invaluable; I have been extremely lucky to have the aid of a Roman historian so remarkable in the breadth of her outlook and the subtlety of her understanding. Professor Otto Zwierlein discussed the project with me before I began it, and has sustained it with his support thereafter. Ms Madeline Littlewood gallantly retyped the greater part of the book when the march of technology required it; she executed this dismal task with astonishing dispatch and good cheer, and I am very much in her debt.

Many individuals have been so good as to give me a bibliographical clue, lend me a book, or put up with my enthusiasm for letters and Cicero. I am grateful to: Professor Jim Adams, Mr William Allan, Mr David Avery-Gee, Dr Marilyn Butler, Ms Jeri Johnson, Dr David Langslow, Dr Paul Slack, Dr Helen Watanabe, Professor Michael Winterbottom. The Oxford University Press have very kindly accepted the work for publication. Dr Hilary O'Shea has followed its progress with cheering interest; the Press's two advisers contrived both to raise my spirits and to improve my presentation. Ms Jane Robson has copy-edited the book with alert and exacting intelligence.

My wife has unmurmuringly endured another book. Her sympathy and helpfulness have never failed; her own keen interest in . . .

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