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Title: Suetonius : the hidden persuader
Author: Power, Tristan J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3498 2303
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2007
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This is the first full literary study ofthe biographer Suetonius in over fifty years and the first one ever in English. Previous works on the author have focused primarily on his life and society or on historical matters associated with his sources. I look instead at Suetonius as a writer, someone he is often denied being. I utilise current theories on ancient historical writers' use ofthe rhetorical arts ofpersuasion, bringing to bear the recently accepted perspective that ancient historical writing differed fundamentally from its modern counterpart in the amount of licence granted to the author for distortion and invention. My aim is to reveal Suetonius as sophisticated and talented, by interpreting his Lives ofthe Caesars on their own terms as rhetorical and literary achievements. The biographies' appearance of objectivity emerges as a deceptive device by which they convince the reader ofa predetermined conclusion. The thesis has two parts. The first is concerned with combating the widely held opinion that Suetonius has no style. The introductory chapter surveys the scholarship on Suetonius, outlining the neglected areas to be pursued and the orthodox views with which the study will contend. Chapter 2 then establishes the place ofthe Caesars within the historical traditions and adduces analogies with Caesar's commentarii, Pliny's Letters, and various technical works. In Chapter 3, Suetonius' prose is closely examined, especially his pervasive manipulation of material through diuisio. The second part of the thesis explores the moralistic dimension of Suetonius' Lives. Chapter 4 is devoted to Suetonius' conception of character and how it is articulated in each Life through the organisation of virtues and vices. Chapter 5 then opens up a new field in Suetonian studies by asking whether the biographer was capable even of poetical allusion to reinforce his character-portrayals. Finally, Chapter 6 draws conclusions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available