Answering the Natural Questions: Pliny's Ep. 4.30 and Ep. 8.20
This paper argues that Pliny the Younger activates specific intertexts to the third book of Seneca's Naturales Quaestiones (NQ) as part of his self-fashioning. Seneca's own epistolary and scientific prowess are recalled in Pliny's careful and erudite letters, but Pliny also adds his own literary perspective to the genre of natural science. An analysis of Ep. 4.30 and 8.20 reveals how Pliny competes with Seneca's literary and scientific auctoritas in order to create his own innovative response to the Naturales Quaestiones. In doing so, Pliny updates these mirabilia into fitting subjects for epistolary expression and for both intertextual and intratextual play. His handling of the material acts as useful lens to his persona and his perspective on the epistolary genre for fruitful philosophical and literary expression.
Trinacty, Christopher. 2020. "Answering the Natural Questions: Pliny's Ep. 4.30 and Ep. 8.20." Teaching Classical Journal 116(1): 82-99.
Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS)
Hydrology, Intertextuality, Nature, Pliny the Younger, Seneca