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This valuable tool for the student of comedy is accompanied by a list of internet sites pp. With this monograph, which stands out for its clarity and fair-minded criticism, Theodoros G.

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Pappas manages to illuminate a variety of important aspects of Aristophanes' plays. It is a learned, well-documented, up-to-date, carefully produced, reliable and indispensable work for both the non-expert who embarks upon a journey in the field of Greek comedy, and the specialist who may be interested in more advanced, thought-provoking and sophisticated approaches to specific topics relating to the comedy of Aristophanes.

See, among his works, Pappas, Th.

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Pappas, Th. See e. Silk, M.

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Dover, K. In The Greeks and Their Legacy. Aristophanea: Studies on the Text of Aristophanes Oxford 1— Sifakis, G. JHS , — For the dramatic mechanisms employed by Aristophanes for the depiction of character, cf. Silk — Silk 98—; Willi, A. For this variety mainly in terms of religious, technical or female speech, cf.

Willi 8— Pappas 89— On Aristophanes' political treatment of these topics, cf. Desclos, M. Halliwell, S. Post a Comment. Monday, May 29, Arion's lyre: archaic lyric into Hellenistic poetry, Benjamin Acosta-Hughes.


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Taplin himself focused on entrances and exits in Aeschylus, and took as his guiding principle that all significant action in a Greek play could be extrapolated from the text. In the intervening years, Taplin's overarching protreptic has gradually been internalized by scholars of the Greek theater, though even he has come to modify the early rigidity of his approach. Indeed, looking back, it seems a little incredible that anyone even in the late 's would have needed such a pointed reminder that Greek drama was actually once real theater, with all that entailed.

It may also seem incredible that it has taken so long for anyone to do for Aristophanes and Old Comedy what Taplin did for Aeschylus and Greek tragedy, given how much fruitful scholarly attention has been paid in recent decades to the interaction between the two genres at the Athenian dramatic festivals. This is a truly significant work--expansively erudite, yet accessible and lucid throughout--not just because it is the first sustained study of Aristophanic dramaturgy, but also because it charts so thoroughly the relatively recent evolution of "performance studies" as a sub-discipline that owes as much to anthropology, sociology and psychology as to literary fields, and offers a clear picture of what such an approach has to offer the study of ancient drama as a whole.

The first half, in fact, provides a historical introduction to performance studies as a discrete methodology and should be required reading of anyone interested in dramatic genres of any period. These chapters are cogently arranged to walk the reader through the main issues that performance studies have addressed over the past few decades, and by the time we get to the second half--a detailed analysis of three representative plays of Aristophanes Clouds, Lysistrata and Wealth --we have a clear sense of both the virtues and limitations of such an approach.

If one had to ascribe a manifesto to performance studies, it might well be summed up in these remarks from Revermann, early in the book p. Nothing is insignificant. Theatre audiences. Revermann is thoroughly steeped in these discourses and methodologies, and helpfully illustrates the theoretical portions of the book's first half with numerous examples from Greek drama, and some even from other traditions, such as Japanese traditions.

By the end of Part I "Issues" , then, an entire set of analytical categories and categories has been laid out before us, and virtually every conceivable aspect of Greek drama emerges laden with significance in one way or another, whether we are considering grand things such as the spatial organization of performance space in its relation to the physical positioning of the audience, or more specific features of the theater, such as costumes, props or the modulation of voice. One of the many admirable qualities of the first half of the book is Revermann's honesty about an assortment of problems that arise when one privileges a "performative" approach to the analysis of Greek drama, and of Aristophanes in particular.

If one really wants to move beyond textual cues as a guide to performance, and begin looking to extra-textual, even extra-dramatic forms of evidence, whether material archaeological, art historical or abstract cultural, philosophical , what are the limits on our speculation? Given the fact that, in Revermann's words, "performance criticism of ancient drama will never be an area of certainties" p.

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Revermann sets out a few guiding principles pp. They amount, when all is said and done, to an updated, more refined version of Taplin's approach: first, though we should not adhere to the "significant action" hypothesis too rigidly, texts can and do tell us a great deal about what's happening on stage; and second, if we speculate about a given scenario that is neither indicated nor disproven by the text Revermann adopts Karl Popper's principle of "falsification" here , we must remain attuned to what Revermann calls the "theatrical imaginary" of fifth-century Athens, that is, "the set of theatrical codes, conventions, contexts, and practices which can be reconstructed from the textual and archaeological remains of the period.

These methodological remarks are foundational for Revermann's study, but he devotes a separate chapter 3 to two more circumscribed problems, one of which leads him specifically to Old Comedy.


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  • The first question has to do with the relationship between our extant texts and the original performance, since if our texts do not represent an actual performance fairly closely, it would be pointless to use them as evidence for performances to begin with. The second question is an old chestnut--whether or not Aristophanes is typical of the genre; did his "rivals" Cratinus, Eupolis, Platon, etc.

    As a whole, this is an extremely useful chapter, providing essential reading for all students of Greek drama, not just Old Comedy. Revermann walks us through the sorts of things everyone wants to know but is sometimes afraid to ask: how comfortably can we assume that our transmitted texts reflect original performances, or at least "master-scripts," given what we know about the re-performances that became standard after the fifth century, about rehearsal practices, actor-troupes and their potential effects on a text, or about the exportation of Athenian comedy to other venues around the Mediterranean.

    Revermann synthesizes well the copious recent scholarship on all these issues, and concludes with as much conviction as the evidence will allow that our texts--both comic and tragic, although Revermann discusses the two genres separately, sensitive to the different methodological problems they each present--are by and large "authentic" and "reflect an advanced stage of a play's evolution in which the experience of at least one production.

    On the question of how generically typical of Old Comedy Aristophanes was, Revermann is similarly upbeat, concluding that his oeuvre, while distinctive in some respects for example, his integration of tragedy "at the lower levels of subplot and diction" p.

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    The usual caveats are invoked a miniscule sample of textual evidence being certainly the most glaring and serious , but Revermann thinks we can speak meaningfully of "Aristophanes and his rivals" as a group. The list of features that Revermann concludes were shared by all or most poets of Old Comedy at the "macro-level" is not especially surprising e. Chapter four, "Applying Performance Criticism," explores some these shared generic features in greater detail, beginning with a general discussion of the theatrical space of Old Comedy and followed by sections on gesture, arrivals and departures Revermann's updated version of what used to be called "exits and entrances" , the nature of Athenian audiences and their interaction with the performance.

    This chapter is especially suffused with the disciplinary discourse of Theater Studies, with much talk of space and semantics, proxemics, chorality, Goffmanian framing, and so forth. I had mixed feelings about the results, however. To be sure, one could not ask for a more learned and thoroughly au courant scholarly treatment of these topics, and it is difficult not to be impressed by Revermann's command of methodological tools and models with which most classicists have only a passing acquaintance. But when stripped of their updated, now more interdisciplinary, scholarly presentation, many of the conclusions sound quite familiar.

    Do we really need Bakhtinian chronotopes, for example, to establish the significance of the fact that the Greek theater was an "open-air, daytime, environmental theatre with no artificial lighting" p. And is it not commonly accepted and often noted that Athenian drama "makes an enormous appeal to the imaginative power of its audience.