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The Deaths of Seneca$
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James Ker

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387032.001.0001

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End of a Series: Death in Epistolary Time

End of a Series: Death in Epistolary Time

Chapter:
(p.147) 6 End of a Series: Death in Epistolary Time
Source:
The Deaths of Seneca
Author(s):

James Ker (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387032.003.0007

This chapter shows how the Epistulae morales, with their serialized habit of meditatio mortis (“death rehearsal”), create an interpretive framework for Seneca's death. Amid Seneca's innovative uses of the epistolary collection as a literary form, the programmatic first letter identifies the paradoxical concept of cotidie mori (“dying each day”) as a central focus. In the course of the correspondence cotidie mori is mapped out across two dimensions: the sequence of letters, with its momentum and multiplicity; and the internal structure of the single letter, with its singularity and closure. These literary manifestations of daily mortality offer a useful framework for thinking about Seneca's own actual death, and about Paulina's willingness to die with him.

Keywords:   Epistulae morales, epistolography, meditatio mortis, Paulina

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