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Marcus Aurelius in Love [Kindle Edition]

Marcus Aurelius , Marcus Cornelius Fronto , Amy Richlin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

In 1815 a manuscript containing one of the long-lost treasures of antiquity was discovered—the letters of Marcus Cornelius Fronto, reputed to have been one of the greatest Roman orators. But this find disappointed many nineteenth-century readers, who had hoped for the letters to convey all of the political drama of Cicero’s. That the collection included passionate love letters between Fronto and the future emperor Marcus Aurelius was politely ignored—or concealed. And for almost two hundred years these letters have lain hidden in plain sight.

Marcus Aurelius in Love rescues these letters from obscurity and returns them to the public eye. The story of Marcus and Fronto began in 139 CE when Fronto was selected to instruct Marcus in rhetoric. Marcus was eighteen then and by all appearances the pupil and teacher fell in love. Spanning the years in which the relationship flowered and died, these are the only love letters to survive from antiquity—homoerotic or otherwise. With a translation that reproduces the effusive, slangy style of the young prince and the rhetorical flourishes of his master, the letters between Marcus and Fronto will rightfully be reconsidered as key documents in the study of the history of sexuality and classics.



Editorial Reviews

Review

Marcus Aurelius in Love is an important text, the significance of which Amy Richlin is the first to fully appreciate. She has discovered something that was lying right out in the open, for anyone who chose to cast a glance in a certain out-of-the-way corner. The neglected letters that survived between the young Marcus Aurelius, the future emperor of Rome, and his tutor in rhetoric, the great orator Marcus Cornelius Fronto, are a record of the passionate affection they felt for each other. Richlin’s fine literal translation and eloquent introduction make this collection essential for any scholar of the history of sexuality or classics.”--David Konstan, Brown University

(David Konstan 2006-03-14)

“These new translations of letters between the Emperor Marcus Aurelius



and his mentor Fronto, brilliantly edited by Amy Richlin, throw a tantalizing



light on the intimate relations between men in the late Antonine period in



Rome, hovering as they do between ardent expression of affection and playful



amorousness.”--Louis Crompton, author of Homosexuality and Civilization



 

(Louis Crompton 2006-07-24)

“Whether one interprets them as evidence of a genuine student-teacher romance, over-elaborated rhetoric of friendship, or the precocious young prince playing the manipulative tease, the letters of Marcus Aurelius and Fronto are sure to fascinate. This neglected correspondence deserves an important place in any future discussion of Roman sexuality. It destabilizes traditional assumptions about the systematic interrelation of age difference, sexual desire, and political power. Amy Richlin has now made these letters available to us in a lively and modern translation with a helpful introduction and notes aimed at the student or nonspecialist.”--Thomas K. Hubbard, University of Texas at Austin



 



 

(Thomas K. Hubbard 2006-07-24)

"This is a beautifully printed book, a pleasure just to hold. The introduction, commentary, and notes--clear, informative, often amusing--are a delight to read. What this book demonstrates is that Marcus and Fronto definitely had a love affair of the mind, whether or not they were lovers of the other variety."
(Daniel A. Burr Gay and Lesbian Review)

From the Inside Flap

In 1815 a manuscript containing one of the long-lost treasures of antiquity was discovered—the letters of Marcus Cornelius Fronto, reputed to have been one of the greatest Roman orators. But this find disappointed many nineteenth-century readers, who had hoped for the letters to convey all of the political drama of Cicero’s. That the collection included passionate love letters between Fronto and the future emperor Marcus Aurelius was politely ignored—or concealed. And for almost two hundred years these letters have lain hidden in plain sight.

 

Marcus Aurelius in Love rescues these letters from obscurity and returns them to the public eye. The story of Marcus and Fronto began in 139 CE when Fronto was selected to instruct Marcus in rhetoric. Marcus was eighteen then and by all appearances the pupil and teacher fell in love. Spanning the years in which the relationship flowered and died, these are the only love letters to survive from antiquity—homoerotic or otherwise. With a translation that reproduces the effusive, slangy style of the young prince and the rhetorical flourishes of his master, the letters between Marcus and Fronto will rightfully be reconsidered as key documents in the study of the history of sexuality and classics.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1440 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (September 15, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001P81K8M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,341,508 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More interesting than anything else July 24, 2008
Format:Hardcover
As I understand it, the discovery of Marcus Fronto's collected letters caused a great disappointment among classical scholars as they seemed to resemble the quality his ancient reputation suggested far less than was imagined, and his part in this correspondance is no less disappointing for its generally boring quality than it is irritating for its pedantry. Though Marcus' role in the relationship granted him greater freedom of expression, the quality of Fronto's writing is uniformly dismal, whereas the fourth of the Good Emperors is energetic and interesting, definitely giving some tilt to his halo, as Amy Richlin puts it.

That said, the book is no less than what it claims to be, a focused collection of the romantically suggestive correspondence between Marcus Aurelius and Marcus Cornelius Fronto, and it can only be truly criticized as a volume for any objectionable qualities of the translation. In this case, I find Richlin's idiosyncracies as a translator detract somewhat from the reading. In this, and her other translations, text is replaced and modernized and, at least in Marcus Aurelius in Love, Greek quotes are translated into French, and classic quotes are replaced with Shakesperean. Although she justifies this as making the text more readable, I find it comes off rather more ridiculous than innovative. If one wanted to read a modern exchanged one would have pursued a book constructed under such auspices, but in this case the subject seems to lose some of its value as a self-conscious artifact as a result of her liberties, becoming somewhat contrived.
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