Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Dimensions of space and time in the literary worlds of Pliny and Martial
by Smith, Mariah Elaine, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2016, 230; 10129673
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the literary personae of Pliny the Younger and Martial. Their characterizations of their own literary personae as writers reveal the ways in which Pliny and Martial situate the identity of the writer within elite Roman society. Space and time are used as conceptual frameworks to align the literary worlds created within the texts with Roman society at large. Space and time are fundamental and universal ways of understanding the world and as such the ways in which they are used reveal underlying attitudes about power, importance, and identity. Each chapter focuses on Pliny’s and Martial’s references to space and time in their accounts of discrete literary activities: writing, performing, publishing, and reading.

Chapters 1 and 2 argue that one of the key factors in writing and performance is the control of time. The writer requires isolation from others as a way of gaining control over time but the performer, who is in public space, commands the time of others. Chapters 3 and 4 examines publishing and Pliny’s and Martial’s relationships with their readers, many of whom are unknown. Geographical distribution of a work is directly tied to its ability to survive and confer fame upon the author. Pliny and Martial attempt to counteract the potential estrangement from their audience by dictating the where and when the work can be read.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leach, Eleanor W.
Commitee: Bannon, Cynthia, Corbeill, Anthony, Gitner, Adam, Schott, Jeremy
School: Indiana University
Department: Classical Studies
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 77/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Classical studies, Classical Studies
Keywords: Martial, Pliny, Space, Time
Publication Number: 10129673
ISBN: 978-1-339-87564-4
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