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Barbarian Play:Plautus' Roman Comedy

Barbarian Play:Plautus' Roman Comedy

Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Barbarian Play:Plautus' Roman Comedy
    Book Description:

    Anderson explores the special form of metatheatre that we admire in Plautus, by which he undermines the assumptions of his Greek `models' and replaces them with a new, confident Roman comedy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7117-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Wallace McLeod

    With this volume we inaugurate the Robson Classical Lectures. Donald Oakley Robson (1905–76) graduated in Honours Classics from Victoria College in the University of Toronto in 1928, and earned his MA (1929) and his PhD (1932) from the University of Toronto. After teaching at the University of Western Ontario for seventeen years, he returned to hisalma mater, and taught Latin there from 1947 until his retirement in 1975. His wife, Rhena Victoria Kendrick (1901–82), also graduated in Honours Classics from Victoria College, in 1923, with the Governor General’s Gold Medal. They were generous benefactors of their college....

  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Plautus and the Deconstruction of Menander
    (pp. 3-29)

    In 1952 Professor George Duckworth of Princeton published his bookThe Nature of Roman Comedy.¹ It was a happy moment for such a study, and Duckworth’s assimilation and assessment of scholarly work of the first half of the twentieth century remains a basic tool of the classicist and the informed reader of Latin comedy. The situation in 1952 was this: the Latin texts of Plautus and Terence had remained virtually unchanged, as no new manuscript evidence had been discovered since the nineteenth century; but new methods of research on dramatic techniques, comic language, and the nature of comedy had spurred...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Si amicus Diphilo aut Philemoni es: Plautus’ Exploitation of Other Writers and Features of the Greek Comic Tradition
    (pp. 30-59)

    The discovery of the papyrus fragment ofThe Double-Deceiverdemonstrates conclusively that, in adapting the Greek play of Menander to Latin, Plautus worked carefully from the Greek text, available to him, it has been suggested, in the scripts of actors who came to Italy, and especially to Rome, from the Greek world. Now, it is a curious fact that, in spite of this close acquaintance with Menander’s plays, Plautus nowhere names the playwright or any of the comedies that he has adapted. It was long suspected that theBacchidesderived from theDouble-Deceiver, because the Latin saying split between lines...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Plautus’ Plotting: The Lover Upstaged
    (pp. 60-87)

    When classical scholars began to develop an interest in New Comedy, then to pursue that interest with fervour under the stimulus of the new papyrus finds of this century, they themselves were living in a period of sentimentality. Tastes in the Anglo-American cultures agreed with the romantic ideals of Victorian society, and parallel romanticism affected the judgment of other European classicists. Thus, it is common to find in general comments on New Comedy that the plot focused on love: ‘The central theme was usually the course of true love, and the action depicted the efforts of a youth to obtain...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Heroic Badness (malitia): Plautus’ Characters and Themes
    (pp. 88-106)

    If you can remember your own childhood, or if you have watched and listened to children as they were playing, you perhaps have observed how very important to them are those simple moral terms ‘bad’ and ‘good.’ Not, I hasten to say, that children are entirely innocent, naïve, and narrowly puritanical about their use of such terms. Along with the powerful word ‘No!,’ they have been hearing parents, grandparents, and siblings smiling-and-cooing at them ‘Good’ and growling, shrieking, and roaring at them ‘Bad,’ often with gestures and various movements, including pats, spanks, and blows, that ought to have made the...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Words, Numbers, Movement: Plautus’ Mastery of Comic Language, Metre, and Staging
    (pp. 107-132)

    No anecdote or document survives that allows us to hear the words of Plautus or Terence speaking about himself or his craft. By sheer chance, diligent Plutarch reports for us a statement of Menander about his concept of dramatic composition, then interprets it for us. As the Athenian festival was approaching for which Menander was supposed to produce a comedy, and there was no sign of the play, he was asked when it would be done. Menander supposedly answered: ‘By god, Ihavecompleted the comedy: I have worked out the plot; now, I need only fit the verses to...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Plautus and His Audience: The Roman Connection
    (pp. 133-152)

    In the finale of the comedyPseudolus, the enterprising slave, who has accomplished a series of successful deceptions against a soldier’s aide, a pimp, and finally his old master Simo, returns from celebrating his success with his friends. He is quite happily drunk. Staggering towards centre stage, he starts to address his recalcitrant feet: ‘Hey, what is this? Now then, feet, what’s going on here? Are you going to stand or not? Or do you want someone to come and pick me up off the ground? Damn it, if I fall down, there’ll be trouble for you. Are you going...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 153-170)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 171-178)
  13. Index
    (pp. 179-184)