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4 - Curculio

The Ring Is the/a Thing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2022

Emilia A. Barbiero
Affiliation:
New York University
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Summary

Chapter 4 is oriented around a letter-making signet ring whose imprint makes Curculio’s forged text “real.” Its agency, however, is not confined to epistolary deception, and this chapter unpacks the anulus’ potent theatrical agency by elucidating its operation in excess of human design. I shift my focus in exploring the metatheatrical portrait generated by Curculio’s epistolary motif. Whereas Chapters 1 through 3 consider the common ability of letters and scripts to evoke absent people, here I look at the power of these media to conjure up faraway places. Both epistles and dramatic texts bring “here” to “there” (or vice versa), a capacity enacted in Curculio’s composition of a letter at Epidaurus which encapsulates his encounter in Caria and flaunted in the choragus’ tour that blurs the line between theatrical and experiential space. Finally, this chapter returns to questions of innovation and artistic dependence. Curculio’s missive invites us to reflect on the impossibility of originality for the author on the outside when an author on the inside makes the play by recomposing yet another author’s text. A coda considers the play’s seal as related to the literary sphragis.

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Chapter
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Letters in Plautus
Writing Between the Lines
, pp. 127 - 160
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Curculio
  • Emilia A. Barbiero, New York University
  • Book: Letters in Plautus
  • Online publication: 01 December 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009168502.005
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  • Curculio
  • Emilia A. Barbiero, New York University
  • Book: Letters in Plautus
  • Online publication: 01 December 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009168502.005
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Curculio
  • Emilia A. Barbiero, New York University
  • Book: Letters in Plautus
  • Online publication: 01 December 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009168502.005
Available formats
×