Postclassical Comedy and the Composition of Roman Comedy
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON POSTCLASSICAL COMEDY, SERIES PIERIDES II, Sophia Papaioannou & A.K. Petrides, eds., Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010
45 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2011 Last revised: 5 Jun 2011
Date Written: December 1, 2010
Taking advantage of the fresh fragmentary discoveries in New Comedy, this paper focuses anew on the relationship between Roman Comedy and fourth-century Greek comedy, and argues that the two genres develop along similar structural principles because they embrace parallel philosophies of dealing with their potential literary models. Setting as premise that postclassical Greek comic drama is the outcome of a well-thought combination of individual genius and cleverly filtered sources, not always literary, the assessment of Plautine and Terentian dramaturgy advanced in this study, is based on extensive discussions of specific case studies and examines in detail the anatomy of a twofold methodology of model reception behind the texts of the palliata. The process in question transforms the so-perceived image of a spontaneous, improvisatory Plautine speech, by proving that Plautus’ literary language, no less than Terence’s own, involves complex intertextuality, which, in turn, comes in the aftermath of a long Quellenforschung whose successful conclusion presupposes critical acumen, powerful memory, and years of experience in viewing and performing Greek comedies.
Keywords: postclassical comedy, Roman comedy, Terence Eunuch, Plautus Truculentus, Menander Samia
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