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.
Mason Hammond is Pope Professor of Latin, Emeritus, Harvard University.
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.