Pliny's epistolary dreams and the ghost of Domitian

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Abstract

Letters that report dreams and visions showcase Pliny's concern with controlling interpretation. I argue that in two letters on dreams Pliny advocates a confrontational response to negative dreams as a successful paradigm. I then read a letter that addresses the issue of the existence of ghosts with three tales. By comparing the first two tales with other versions by Tacitus and Lucian I analyze the implications of the letter's structure and show how Pliny carefully crafts his narratives in an attempt to control the reader's interpretation of the final story, crucial to his career under Domitian and his future reputation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-132
Number of pages28
JournalTransactions of the American Philological Association
Volume142
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Classics
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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