Philosophy and Comedy: Aristophanes, Logos, and Eros

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Overview

Aristophanes' comedies have stood the test of time as some of the greatest comic literature ever produced. While there have been numerous commentaries on Aristophanes and his world, until now there has been no systematic philosophical treatment of his comedies. In Philosophy and Comedy, Bernard Freydberg illuminates the philosophical insights in Aristophanes' texts by presenting close readings of Clouds, Wasps, Assemblywomen, and Lysistrata, addressing their comic genius at the same time. Freydberg challenges notions that philosophy is best served by a tragic disposition and arrives at a new assessment of the philosophical importance of comedy.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Sara Brill

"[Opens] up Aristophanes' hilarious and vulgar texts to an exploration of their more subtle and complex underlying senses." —Sara Brill, Fairfield University

Robert Metcalf

"[The] real asset of Freydberg's work is that he has turned us in the right direction to appreciate the philosophy implicit in comedy." —Robert Metcalf, University of Colorado at Denver

K. J. Wetmore Jr.

Freydberg (philosophy, Koç Univ., Istanbul) sets Aristophanes' plays in dialogue with The Republic, The Symposium, and other texts by Plato in order both to give a systematic philosophical analysis of Aristophanes and to explore comedy as philosophical and civic discourse. Regarding Aristophanes as producing "thought-provoking laughter," the volume considers Clouds, Wasps, Assemblywomen, and Lysistrata as discourses on eros, logos, and the issue of "measure," celebrating humanity even as they revel in its limits. In this view, Aristophanes demonstrates awareness of the concepts and ideas later espoused by Plato through his characters and situations. Although not always orthodox in his readings of philosophy and comedy, Freydberg does always acknowledge when he is reaching in his readings, and the end result is a fascinating exercise that provides a unique view of Aristophanes as a philosopher and comedy as a form of philosophy. Of particular interest is the consideration of the other and women in the city. Of more value to scholars and students of philosophy and classics than to the artists and scholars of theater, Freydberg's insights expose the underlying ideas in Greek comedy in a unique and significant way. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. -- ChoiceK. J. Wetmore Jr., Loyola Marymount University

Text & Presentation - Michael J. Griffin

"Each chapter of 'Philosophy and Comedy' delivers a novel interpretation of the Aristophanic text, viewed through the lens of Plato...." —Michael J. Griffin, University of British Columbia, Text & Presentation, 2009

Choice
. . . a fascinating exercise that provides a unique view of Aristophanes as a philosopher and comedy as a form of philosophy.
From the Publisher

"[The] real asset of Freydberg's work is that he has turned us in the right direction to appreciate the philosophy implicit in comedy." —Robert Metcalf, University of Colorado at Denver

"[Opens] up Aristophanes' hilarious and vulgar texts to an exploration of their more subtle and complex underlying senses." —Sara Brill, Fairfield University

Text & Presentation
"Each chapter of 'Philosophy and Comedy' delivers a novel interpretation of the Aristophanic text, viewed through the lens of Plato...." —Michael J. Griffin, University of British Columbia, Text & Presentation, 2009

— Michael J. Griffin, University of British Columbia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253351067
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Series: Studies in Continental Thought Series
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Freydberg is Research Professor of Philosophy at Koç University, Istanbul. He is author of Imagination in Kant's Critique of Practical Reason (IUP, 2005).

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction On the Underlying Sense of Aristophanic Comedy 1

Pt. 1 Logos and Human Limits

1 Clouds and the Measuring of Logos 11

2 Wasps and the Limits of Logos 55

Pt. 2 Eros and Human Limits

3 Assemblywomen: Eros and Human Law 111

4 Lysistrata: Eros and Transcendence 158

Conclusion: Ridicule and Measure 196

Notes 201

Bibliography 221

Index 225

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