Menander: The Grouch, Desperately Seeking Justice, Closely Cropped Locks, The Girl from Samos, The Shield

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University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998 - Drama - 275 pages
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The comedies of Menander reveal that the oft-employed theme of mistaken identity is as old as the Great Dionysia.


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Desperately Seeking Justice Epitrepontes
Closely Cropped Loch Perikeiromene
The Girl from Samos Samia
About the Translators

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About the author (1998)

The late fourth century b.c. gave rise to New Comedy---a comedy of manners that was more refined and lacked the robustness of Old Comedy. Until the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Greek playwright Menander's plays were known only through adaptations and translations made by the Roman dramatists Plautus and Terence and by the comments of Ovid and Pliny. Menander wrote approximately 100 plays, and the few extant in the Greek text were found on papyrus rolls in the rubbish heaps of Roman Egypt. However, "The Dyskolos," the first complete Menander New Comedy to be discovered intact, turned up on papyrus in a private Swiss collection. His comedies are skillfully constructed, his characters well delineated, his diction excellent, and his themes mostly the trials and tribulations of young love with conventional solutions. Menander was born and died in Athens, presumably a member of the upper class, and studied under the philosopher-scientist Theophrastus, the successor of Aristotle.

David R. Slavitt was born in White Plains, New York in 1935. He received an AB and an MA from Columbia University. After graduating from college and beginning a Ph.D., he worked as a movie critic for Newsweek from the late 1950s through the mid-1960s. During this time, he published his first book of poetry, Suits for the Dead. His first novel, Rochelle, or Virtue Rewarded, was published in 1966. He has written about 100 works of fiction, poetry, and poetry and drama in translation including Alice at 80, The Cock Book, Falling from Silence: Poems, The Latin Odes of Jean Dorat, Milton's Latin Poems, and Three Greenlandic Poets. He also writes under the names David Benjamin, Henry Lazarus, Lynn Meyer, and Henry Sutton. As Henry Sutton, he has written less "literary" works that have sold well such as The Exhibitionist and The Sacrifice: A Novel of the Occult.

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