Five Comedies: Miles Gloriosus, Menaechmi, Bacchides, Hecyra and Adelphoe

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Hackett Publishing, Mar 12, 1999 - 424 pages
1 Review
"This is a book worthy of high praise. . . . All versions are exceedingly witty and versatile, in verse that ripples from one’s lips, pulling all the punches of Plautus, the knockabout king of farce, and proving that the more polished Terence can be just as funny. Accuracy to the original has been thoroughly respected, but look at the humour in rendering Diphilius' play called Synapothnescontes as Three’s a Shroud. . . . Students in schools and colleges will benefit from short introductions to each play, to Roman stage conventions, to different types of Greek and Roman comedy, and there is a note on staging, with a diagram illustrating a typical Roman stage and further diagrams of the basic set for each play. The translators have paid more attention to stage directions than is usually given in translations, because they aim to show how these plays worked. This is a book to be used and enjoyed." --Raymond J. Clark, The Classical Outlook
 

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User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

Works by two Roman playwrights, translated into English and modernized. It's difficult to tell whether the contemporary sound of these plays is in the original, or the translation, but they sound ... Read full review

Contents

Double Bind Plautus Menaechmi
99
The Wild Wild Women Plautus Bacchides
185
The MotherinLaw Terences Hecyra
295
The Brothers Terences Adelphoe
345
A Note on the PreAct of The Wild Wild Women
406
A Supplementary Prologue to The Wild Wild Women
408
Back Cover
412
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About the author (1999)

Plautus and Terence used stock characters (the young lovers, the clever slave, the irate father) and devices (mistaken identity), but each handled these conventions in his own distinct manner. Plautus was the son of a poor Umbrian farmer who may have fought in the Second Punic War. The playwright Plautus is said to have been a popular actor, true comedian, jovial, tolerant, rough of humor. He not only modeled his plays on the Greek New Comedy, but unhesitatingly inserted long passages translated from the Greek originals. He was the master of comic irony and, as its originator, copied by Moliere, Corneille, Jonson, Dryden and Fielding. Shakespeare based his Comedy of Errors on Plautus's Menaechmi. Of more than 100 plays, 21 survive.

Terence was born in Carthage. As a boy, he was the slave of Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator, who educated him and set him free. He was an intimate friend of the younger Scipio and of the elegant poet Laelius. They were the gilded youth of Rome, and Terence's plays were undoubtedly written for this inner circle, not for the vulgar crowd. They were adapted from Menander and other Greek writers of the New Comedy and, in the main, were written seriously on a high literary plane with careful handling of plot and character. The six comedies are all extant.

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