Mixed Messages: The Play of Epistolary Codes in Two Late Antique Latin Correspondences *
This chapter considers two celebrated epistolary relationships from the 4th century AD: the famously dysfunctional correspondence of Augustine and Jerome, and the reputedly bitter final years of Ausonius' correspondence with his former pupil Paulinus. In both of these exchanges, epistolary codes are cleverly manipulated to remarkable rhetorical effect; and any explication of what went wrong (or right) in these complicated letter exchanges requires close attention to the ‘rules’ of the epistolary game. In the case of Augustine and Jerome, the chapter argues that the discernible hostilities in the correspondence arise because Augustine deliberately refuses to play the iuuenis to Jerome's senex and instead represents himself as Jerome's exegetical equal. In the case of Ausonius and Paulinus, on the other hand, it is precisely through their careful adherence to the codes of father-son letters that evidence for a persistent amicitia can be seen despite apparent tensions.
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