Customer Reviews: Classical Comedy - Greek and Roman: Six Plays
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on May 8, 2000
Robert W. Corrigan has complied a wonderful balance of Greek and Roman comedies. The collection is ideal for anyone interested in an overview of classical comedy or wishing to explore the roots of modern comedy.
Aristophanes' "Lysistrata" and "The Birds," and Menander's "The Grouch" represent the Greek plays. "The Menaechmi" (sometimes called 'The Brother's Menaechmi') and "Mostellaria" (sometimes called 'The Haunted House' or 'The Ghost')" by Plautus and "The Self Tormentor" by Terence represent the Roman plays.
The plays themselves are a wonderful study of comedy from it's dramatic origins to the Roman's translations of Greek "New Comedy." Students of Shakespeare and renaissance drama will find this book especially useful as "The Menaechmi" is the source of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors" and plays like "The Grouch" and "The Self Tormentor" greatly influenced the French comic playwright, Jean-Baptiste Moliere.
The introductions scribed by Corrigan are outstanding. A master of ancient drama, he has a passion that creeps into all his essays. Unfortunately, the introductions by the translators sometimes fail to relate to the boarder subject of comedy and leave a little to be desired.
Regarding the translations themselves, four different authors have translated the six plays and some are better than others. Walter Kerr's translation of "The Birds" is the best of the collection. Palmer Bovie's translations of the three Roman plays are solid and reflect Plautus' word-play well (which also influenced Shakespeare).
My only criticism of the book is that some of the introductions are now dated by references to several Hollywood comedies and Broadway plays that might be obscure unless you have a background in these subjects. However, the book is for the plays themselves and the plays themselves are delightful. Overall, I recommend this collection as introduction to ancient comedy.
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on February 22, 2013
I assign this book, along with Classical Tragedy - Greek and Roman: Eight Plays in Authoritative Modern Translations, when I teach my college's ancient literature course. The translations are getting a bit dated, but they still serve well to welcome students into the old world, to show that "the Greeks" aren't the marble-statue stiffs that my modern-minded English majors fear they might be. The version of Lysistrata in this volume is especially great, preserving the anything-goes sense of funny that endears class after class to the oldies.

My only big complaint about the volume is the binding--I'd avoid getting a used copy, as the pages tend to fall out with very much heavy use at all. My copy is still intact, but my students, who are less fussy with their books, are often losing pages of Plautus by semester's end.
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on February 13, 2013
This was required for my daughters theatre class. She has no complaints about the format or fonts. Nice to not have to purchase individual plays.
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on May 18, 2016
Excellent product as described!
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