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Grant number like: FB-51688-05

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Ilaria Marchesi
Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY 11549-1000)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2005 – 8/31/2006

Pliny's Poetics of Prose: A Study of Intertextuality in the Formation of a Literary Genre

My project is a study of intertextuality in the letters of Pliny the Younger, a Roman senator who published nine books of private correspondence between the end of the first century and the beginning of the second century CE. I argue that Pliny devised a strategy of "literarization" of his epistles, by implementing a carefully planned program of literary allusions throughout the collection. By inserting in his letters clearly recognizable fragments of canonical poets and prose writers, Pliny imported into the confines of the undertheorized and still fluid practice of letter-writing the principles of composition and organization which characterized other works as "literature" in the eyes of contemporary readership.