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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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Tracing the Tradition

Tracing the Tradition

(p.179) 7 Tracing the Tradition
The Deaths of Seneca

James Ker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the many receptions of Seneca's death in written and visual form, from late antiquity to the twenty-first century. It revisits the occasional allusions to the death in pagan and early Christian writings, the creative retellings in the literature and manuscript culture of the middle ages, the rediscovery (and reelaboration) of the Tacitean death description in the fourteenth century as well as the reshaping of Seneca's dying libation into a self-baptism, the clarifying and stylizing effects respectively of seventeenth-century philology and baroque aesthetics, the aversion to Seneca in the nineteenth century, and the renewed interest especially within the literature of postwar Germany. Although the focus is on the heterogeneous meanings of Seneca's death in distinct interpretive moments, attention is given to the process of “Senecanization,” as Seneca's death narrative is brought into ever new contact with other elements of Senecan discourse.

Keywords:   reception, classical tradition, martyrology, baptism, Peter-Paul Rubens, Heiner Müller

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