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The Comedy of Menander Convention, Variation, and Originality cover
  • ISBN: 9780253368515
  • ISBN10: 0253368510

The Comedy of Menander Convention, Variation, and Originality

by Netta Zagagi

  • List Price: $44.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Indiana Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/1995
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Menander (342-293 BC) was the greatest dramatist of Greek New Comedy, which has influenced the course of Western drama both in its realism and in its romanticism. Until recently, his influence was exercised almost entirely through his Latin adapters, Plautus and Terence. Since 1908, however, large parts of his comedies have come to light in papyri discovered in Egypt and so, for the first time, we have been able to appreciate Menander's art on the basis of his own writings. This book - one of the first to attempt such an overall appreciation - explores the many sides of Menander's dramatic art, emphasizing the versatility and originality of his plays, achieved within - but sometimes in the face of - the conventions of a well-established comic tradition and the conservative expectations of his audience. Professor Zagagi analyzes the plots of many of Menander's comedies, including numerous scenes and passages, and deals with such topics as convention and variation, ways of varying traditional situations and techniques; the function of the Chorus; repetition vs. surprise; Menander's treatment of human character and emotions; the realistic and divine dimensions of his dramas, as well as his use of the laws and social customs of his age and place. Menander's familiarity with his audiences - their tasks, outlook and demands of a good comedy - is explored through the study of his versatile dramatic techniques.
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