n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Plutarch's Little Girl

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This paper discusses Plutarch's consolation to his wife on the death of their infant daughter. It examines the ancient consolatory tradition and precedents for grief over the death of a child, and compares some Victorian examples. The questions to be examined are: Why would a consolatio on the death of an infant have been written? Why would a bereaved father write (and publish) such a formal consolation instead of comforting his wife more personally? The paper concludes that the sad father is comforting himself while both celebrating his wife and erecting a monument to his child by the best means he was master of, literature - in other words, the consolation serves as both laus mulieris and as the little girl's lasting memorial.


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