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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.
Erich Segal was a writer, educator, and screenwriter. He was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 16, 1937. He graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in 1958, a M.A. in 1959, and a Ph.D. in 1964. Segal began a teaching career at Harvard University before moving to Yale University in 1964. He was also a visiting professor in classics at Princeton University and the University of Munich. He achieved international acclaim for his verse translations of Roman playwright Plautus and delivered papers before the American Philological Association and the American Comparative Literature Association. Segal collaborated on the 1958 Harvard Hasty Pudding Club production and wrote several Hollywood screenplays, including the 1968 animated Beatles film, Yellow Submarine and A Change of Seasons. His most famous novel was Love Story, written in 1970. The book was made into a film in 1970. He received a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination for his screenplay. His other novels include Oliver's Story, The Class, and Doctors. He died of a heart attack on January 17, 2010 at the age of 72.