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Plinius vs. Regulus

Zur literarischen Inszenierung negativer Emotionen im Briefcorpus des jüngeren Plinius

Hans-Joachim Häger


Pages 257 - 303



This essay continues the analysis of emotions as reflected in the Plinian collection of letters. The perspective has been widened: After completing the analysis of the sensual elements and the emotions of feelings of the ‘maritus’ in the erotic marriage letters, the so-called negative emotions – here above all hate and contempt – come into the focus. For this purpose, the personal perspective is also changed: in the epistles to be analyzed below, Pliny no longer meets us as a private man and husband, but exclusively in his professional sphere of activity as a lawyer, rhetorician and politician. After a methodological introduction (Chapter 1) the negative emotions hate and contempt staged by Pliny are presented on the basis of the significant seven letters about the notorious ‘delator’ and ‘captator’ Marcus Aquilius Regulus (Chapter 2). Using central results from both social and cultural-historical research as well as emotion linguistics, the aim is to ask how the negative emotions and feelings brought to Regulus are explicitly and implicitly presented within the Plinian ‘Epistulae’ across sentences and letters. Here, the aesthetic, rhetorical and narrative objectives of Pliny are always considered and reflected (Chapter 3).

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