Oxford Readings in Menander, Plautus, and Terence

Paperback | March 1, 2002

EditorErich Segal

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This book documents the origins of modern comedy by examining the evolution of 'New Comedy', the Greek genre of which the works of Menander are the only surviving example. Earlier authors like Aristophanes wrote in a completely different style: raucous, bawdy, fantastical, and vaudeville. Menander (of whom Plutarch said, 'what other reason would a cultivated man have to go to the theatre?') and his contemporaries presented civilised, urban comedies based on the themes of quiet domestic dramas.The Romans adapted these comedies giving them their own farcical spin. Though they based their comedies on Greek originals, Plautus referred to them as 'barbarian versions'; they were mockeries on Hellenistic themes.Terence, by contrast, is more like Menander, whose plays he followed with some fidelity, but without success. The Romans did not crave realism, they wanted a good laugh and Terence- though he could have done so- refused to pander to their vulgar tastes. Yet he got his revenge. It was Terence whoprovided the touchstone boy-meets-girl plots which still appear today in various guises on the silver screen.An authoritative Introduction sets the papers, which are by leading experts in their field, in context and explores connections between them thus examining the legacy for modern comedies. All Latin and Greek is translated.

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This book documents the origins of modern comedy by examining the evolution of 'New Comedy', the Greek genre of which the works of Menander are the only surviving example. Earlier authors like Aristophanes wrote in a completely different style: raucous, bawdy, fantastical, and vaudeville. Menander (of whom Plutarch said, 'what other re...

Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:308 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.6 inPublished:March 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198721935

ISBN - 13:9780198721932

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Table of Contents

Erich Segal: IntroductionI. Greek Antecedents1. Bernard Knox: Euripidean ComedyII. Menander2. E. W. Handley: The Conventions of the Comic Stage and Their Exploitation By Menander3. David Wiles: Marriage and Prostitution in Classical New Comedy4. P. G. McC. Brown: Love and Marriage in Greek New Comedy5. N. J. Lowe: Tragic Space and Comic Timing in Menander's DyskolosIII. Plautus6. Erich Gruen: Plautus and the Public Stage7. Gregor Vogt-Spira: Traditions of Theatrical Improvisation in Plautus: Some Considerations8. W. S. Anderson: Plautus' Mastery of Comic Language9. Erich Segal: The Menaechmi: Roman Comedy of Errors10. Holt Parker: Crucially Funny, or Tranio on the Couch: The Servus Callidus and Jokes About Torture11. D. Konstan: Aulularia: City-State and Individual12. A. R. Sharrock: The Art of Deceit: Pseudolus and the Nature of Reading13. Timothy J. Moore: The Theatre of Plautus: Playing to the Audience14. Florence Dupont: The Theatrical Significance of Duplication in Plautus' Amphitruo15. Niall Slater: Amphitruo, Bacchae, and MetatheatreIV. Terence16. Walther Ludwig: The Originality of Terence and His Greek Models17. Sander M. Goldberg: The Dramatic Balance of Terence's Andria18. Dwora Gilula: Terence's Hecyra: A Delicate Balance of Suspense and Dramatic Irony19. J. A. Barsby: Problems of Adaptation in the Eunuchus of Terence20. J. C. B. Lowe: The Intrigue of Terence's Self-Tormentor21. W. Geoffrey Arnott: Phormio parasitus: A Study in Dramatic Methods of Characterization

Editorial Reviews

`The strength of Oxford Readings in Menander, Plautus, and Terence lies in its reader-friendly character. The volume brings together twenty-one outstanding articles on Greek and Roman comedy and makes them accessible to the non-specialist ... a fine book for use in introductory courses andwill no doubt be welcomed by students and teachers alike.'Dorota Dutsch, University of California at Santa Barbara