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The Eruption Of Vesuvius In The Epistles Of Statius And Pliny

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on two of the Silvae, their analysis here is directed to showing how the letter, which can appear within poetry or prose, constitutes common ground between Statius in the Silvae and Pliny in the Epistles. It suggests that for Statius as well as for Pliny the letter, with its personal address and focus on the author, provided an effective format for writing of recent history, for it allowed a catastrophe of superhuman dimensions to be both vividly described in an eyewitness account and also reined in within human bounds. The chapter suggests the writings of Statius and Pliny on Vesuvius point to a closer association between the two writers, for the Silvae and the Epistles are works that deal with contemporary history, presented not in a grand narrative but as a series of isolated occasions.

Keywords: Epistles; Pliny; Silvae; Statius; Vesuvius



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