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Care of the Other: Seneca and the Work of Mourning

Prof. Victoria Rimell

Care of the Other: Seneca and the Work of Mourning (Leverhulme Research Fellowship. 2022-24)

In this book project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, I ask what it is to read the Senecan corpus from the vantage point of consolation - both the consolatory Dialogues and Epistles, addressed to a younger friend, a noblewoman who has lost her son, a freedman, and Seneca’s own mother, and the therapeutic approaches to dying, grief and loss that run through Senecan thought and poetics, including the tragedies. The question for me is how to engage with consolation’s particular affordances and risks as a public exercise in ethical exhortation that must also enter into the crisis of the uniquely wounded other. A significantly different Seneca emerges, I argue, in the speculative, relational dimension of the consolatory mode, which orients the Roman male subject towards the gendered pressures of vulnerability and dependency in the lag between human weakness and Stoic self-sufficiency.

In 2023-4, I am giving several papers and lectures in which I present parts of the book-in-progress, including the Housman Lecture at UCL, the Fowler Lecture at the University of Oxford, and the Annual Lecture at the Centre for the Literatures of the Roman Empire, at the University of St Andrews.

Housman Lecture 2024 | Department of Greek & Latin - UCL – University College London

Fowler Lectures - Jesus College (

Annual Lectures – Centre for the Literatures of the Roman Empire (