The Comedies

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Penguin Books Limited, 1976 - Drama - 398 pages
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The Roman dramatist Terence (c. 186–159 BC) adapted many of his comedies from Greek sources, rendering them suitable for audiences of his own time by introducing subtler characterization and more complex plots. In his romantic play, The Girl from Andros, Terence portrays a love affair saved by a startling discovery. The Self-Tormentor focusses on a man’s remorse after sending his son to war, and The Eunuch depicts a case of mistaken identity. Phormio is as rich in intrigue as a French farce, while The Mother-in-Law shows two families striving to save a marriage and The Brothers contrasts strict and lenient upbringings. With their tight plots and spare dialogue, Terence gave his plays a sense of humanity that became a model in the Renaissance and greatly influenced Molière.

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About the author (1976)

Terence (c. 186-159 BC) was born at Carthage of Libyan parentage, and was brought to Rome as a young slave. According to Roman tradition his talents and good looks won him an education, manumission, and entry to a patrician literary circle, with whose encouragement he wrote six Latin plays, modeled on Greek New Comedy, all of which survive. Only one,The Eunuch, was a popular success in his lifetime, but he was read and admired in Roman times and throughout the Middle Ages, and became the main influence on Renaissance comedy.
Betty Radice read classics at Oxford, then married and, in the intervals of bringing up a family, tutored in classics, philosophy and English. She became joint editor of the Penguin Classics in 1964. As well as editing the translation of Livy'sThe War with Hannibal she translated Livy's Rome and Italy, Pliny's Letters,The Letters of Abelard and Heloise and Erasmus's Praise of Folly, and also wrote the introduction to Horace'sComplete Odes and Epodes, all for the Penguin Classics. She also edited Edward Gibbon'sMemoirs of My Life for the Penguin English Library, and edited and annotated her translation of the younger Pliny's works for the Loeb Library of Classics and translated from Renaissance Latin, Greek and Italian for the Officina Bodoni of Verona. She collaborated as a translator in the Collected Works of Erasmus, and was the author of the Penguin Reference BookWho's Who in the Ancient World. Betty Radice was an honorary fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford, and a vice-president of the Classical Association. Betty Radice died in 1985.

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