Terence (c.186-159) was born at Carthage of Libyan parentage, and was brought Rome as a young slave. According to Roman tradition his talents and good looks won him an education, manumissions, and entry to a patrician literary circle, with whose encouragement he wrote six Latin plays, modelled on Greek New Comedy. Only one, The Eunuch, was a popular success in his lifetime but he was read and admired in Roman times and became the main influence on Renaissance comedy. Betty Radice was one of the greatest translators of her lifetime, and translated many titles for the Penguin Classics including Erasmus's Praise of Folly and Livy. She died in 1985.
The Comediesby Terence, Peter Brown
The works of Terence have been part of the world's heritage of dramatic literature for more than two thousand years--and they are still being staged and enjoyed. In English translations that achieve a lively readability without sacrificing the dramatic and comic impact of the original Latin, this volume presents all six comedies: The Girl from Andros (Andria), The… See more details below
The works of Terence have been part of the world's heritage of dramatic literature for more than two thousand years--and they are still being staged and enjoyed. In English translations that achieve a lively readability without sacrificing the dramatic and comic impact of the original Latin, this volume presents all six comedies: The Girl from Andros (Andria), The Self-Tormentor (Heautontimorumenos), The Eunuch (Eunouchus), Phormio, The Brothers (Adelphoe), and Her Husband's Mother(Hecyra). Publius Terentius Afer--our Terence--was a slave from North Africa, brought as a boy from Carthage and sold to a wealthy Roman named Marcus Terentius Lucanus. Recognizing the boy's natural charm and genius, Marcus Terentius had Terence educated along with his own children and eventually set the gifted young man free. Terence took to his education in Latin and Greek literature and was soon writing plays of his own--Roman comedies in Latin poetry, based on Greek models. The plays were performed for Romans from every walk of life, who crowded the improvised theaters on festival days. Before his death by shipwreck at age thirty-six--on a voyage to Greece in search of manuscripts by Menander--he had become one of Rome's most popular comedic playwrights. To Terence, "nothing human is foreign." His comedies revel in the complex relationships and amusing cross-purposes of typical "worthies" and their interfering friends. Lovers survive nerve-wracking comic trials. Young men, helped by their stoic slaves, reconcile with angry fathers and uncles. Tutors, lawyers, and middlemen--the "unworthies"--are content to play both ends against the middle. Terence's engaging portrayals of the "generation gap" and other timeless subjects conquered an unruly Roman populace--and, in these translations, will captivate modern readers.
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