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Humanist Comedies (I Tatti Renaissance Library)

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The five comedies included in this volume, three of which have never been translated into English, present a characteristic sampling of comic form as it was interpreted by some of the most important Latin humanists of the Quattrocento. Pier Paolo Vergerio's Paulus (ca. 1390), Philodoxeos fabula (1424) by Leon Battista Alberti, Philogenia et Epiphebus (ca. 1440) by Ugolino Pisani, Chrysis (1444) by Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (later Pope Pius II), and Tommaso Medio's Epirota (1483) span nearly the entire period ...
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Overview


The five comedies included in this volume, three of which have never been translated into English, present a characteristic sampling of comic form as it was interpreted by some of the most important Latin humanists of the Quattrocento. Pier Paolo Vergerio's Paulus (ca. 1390), Philodoxeos fabula (1424) by Leon Battista Alberti, Philogenia et Epiphebus (ca. 1440) by Ugolino Pisani, Chrysis (1444) by Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (later Pope Pius II), and Tommaso Medio's Epirota (1483) span nearly the entire period and are a valuable gauge of its changing literary tastes, tastes nourished by the ancient comic drama of Plautus and Terence. While the earliest of the humanist comedies seem almost medieval in their moralism, the didacticism of the pulpit is cleverly seasoned with the unabashed realism of the brothel to produce a mixture that looks forward to the more modern, sophisticated comedies written in the vernacular during the Cinquecento.
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Editorial Reviews

New England Classical Journal

Here are five plays from fifteenth-century Italy, all in Latin, translated into lucid English by Gary Grund...As is typical for the I Tatti Renaissance Library, the book is beautifully produced. Readers interested in the Renaissance, the reception of Roman comedy, or the development of humanist Latin will find these plays fascinating.

— Anne Mahoney

New York Review of Books

Expertly edited and set into context by Gary Grund...Grund's edition nicely shows how Renaissance comedy mixed ancient motifs with Christian lessons, and offers fascinating information on the rapid development of comic performance in the Renaissance from pantomimes carried out by characters, while a single narrator read all the lines, to full-blown performances on stages, acted out before scenery painted in the new one-point perspective.
— Anthony T. Grafton

Classical Bulletin

[Grund] has produced fine translations in idiomatic English that are accurate, enjoyable, and tasteful (it is easier to offend against taste in translating comedy than most other genres). His annotations are brief, to the point, and genuinely useful. Altogether, he has done an admirably workmanlike job.
— Dana Sutton

New England Classical Journal - Anne Mahoney
Here are five plays from fifteenth-century Italy, all in Latin, translated into lucid English by Gary Grund...As is typical for the I Tatti Renaissance Library, the book is beautifully produced. Readers interested in the Renaissance, the reception of Roman comedy, or the development of humanist Latin will find these plays fascinating.
New York Review of Books - Anthony T. Grafton
Expertly edited and set into context by Gary Grund...Grund's edition nicely shows how Renaissance comedy mixed ancient motifs with Christian lessons, and offers fascinating information on the rapid development of comic performance in the Renaissance from pantomimes carried out by characters, while a single narrator read all the lines, to full-blown performances on stages, acted out before scenery painted in the new one-point perspective.
Classical Bulletin - Dana Sutton
[Grund] has produced fine translations in idiomatic English that are accurate, enjoyable, and tasteful (it is easier to offend against taste in translating comedy than most other genres). His annotations are brief, to the point, and genuinely useful. Altogether, he has done an admirably workmanlike job.
New York Review of Books
Expertly edited and set into context by Gary Grund...Grund's edition nicely shows how Renaissance comedy mixed ancient motifs with Christian lessons, and offers fascinating information on the rapid development of comic performance in the Renaissance from pantomimes carried out by characters, while a single narrator read all the lines, to full-blown performances on stages, acted out before scenery painted in the new one-point perspective.
— Anthony T. Grafton
New England Classical Journal
Here are five plays from fifteenth-century Italy, all in Latin, translated into lucid English by Gary Grund...As is typical for the I Tatti Renaissance Library, the book is beautifully produced. Readers interested in the Renaissance, the reception of Roman comedy, or the development of humanist Latin will find these plays fascinating.

— Anne Mahoney

Classical Bulletin
[Grund] has produced fine translations in idiomatic English that are accurate, enjoyable, and tasteful (it is easier to offend against taste in translating comedy than most other genres). His annotations are brief, to the point, and genuinely useful. Altogether, he has done an admirably workmanlike job.
— Dana Sutton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674017443
  • Publisher: Harvard
  • Publication date: 7/29/2005
  • Language: Latin
  • Series: I Tatti Renaissance Library Series , #19
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary R. Grund is Professor of English Literature, Rhode Island College.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Paulus

by Pier Paolo Vergerio

The Play of Philodoxus
by Leon Battista Alberti

Philogenia and Epiphebus
by Ugolino Pisani

Chrysis
by Enea Silvio Piccolomini

The Epirote
by Tommaso Mezzo

Note on the Text

Notes to the Text

Notes to the Translation

Bibliography

Index

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