Rome and the Mysterious East Three Plays by Plautus

ISBN-10: 0520242750
ISBN-13: 9780520242753
Edition: 2005
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Description: Still funny after two thousand years, the Roman playwright Plautus wrote around 200 B.C.E., a period when Rome was fighting neighbors on all fronts, including North Africa and the Near East. These three plays--originally written for a wartime  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 12/12/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 274
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

Still funny after two thousand years, the Roman playwright Plautus wrote around 200 B.C.E., a period when Rome was fighting neighbors on all fronts, including North Africa and the Near East. These three plays--originally written for a wartime audience of refugees, POWs, soldiers and veterans, exiles, immigrants, people newly enslaved in the wars, and citizens--tap into the mix of fear, loathing, and curiosity with which cultures, particularly Western and Eastern cultures, often view each other, always a productive source of comedy. These current, accessible, and accurate translations have replaced terms meaningful only to their original audience, such as references to Roman gods, with a hilarious, inspired sampling of American popular culture--from songs to movie stars to slang. Matching the original Latin line for line, this volume captures the full exuberance of Plautus's street language, bursting with puns, learned allusions, ethnic slurs, dirty jokes, and profanities, as it brings three rarely translated works--Weevil (Curculio), Iran Man (Persa),andTowelheads (Poenulus)--to a wide contemporary audience. Richlin's erudite introduction sets these plays within the context of the long history of East-West conflict and illuminates the role played by comedy and performance in imperialism and colonialism. She has also provided detailed and wide-ranging contextual introductions to the individual plays, as well as extensive notes, which, together with these superb and provocative translations, will bring Plautus alive for a new generation of readers and actors.

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.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Why This Book
Why Translate This Way
Conventions of Reference and Abbreviations
How These Plays Got from Plautus to Us
Other Translations
Historical Background
Translation Issues
Performance Issues
Suggestions for Further Reading
Weevil (Curculio)
Notes
Iran Man (Persa)
Notes
Towelheads (Poenulus)
Notes
Biblography
General References
Translations, Commentaries, and Special Studies
Historical Background
Index

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