The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama

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These thirteen essays combine classical scholars' interest in theatrical production with a growing interdisciplinary inquiry into the urban contexts of literary production. Taking as their departure point the annual comic competitions at the Athenian dramatic festivals, the contributors examine how the polis—as a place, a political entity, a specific social organization, and a set of ideological representations—was enacted on stage from the middle of the fifth century B.C. ...

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Overview

These thirteen essays combine classical scholars' interest in theatrical production with a growing interdisciplinary inquiry into the urban contexts of literary production. Taking as their departure point the annual comic competitions at the Athenian dramatic festivals, the contributors examine how the polis—as a place, a political entity, a specific social organization, and a set of ideological representations—was enacted on stage from the middle of the fifth century B.C. through the fourth.

Applying a variety of critical approaches to Athenian comedy, these essays are grouped around three broad categories: utopianism, fissures in the social fabric, and the new polis of fourth-century comedy. The contributors explore the sociopolitical and material contexts of the works discussed and trace the genre into the fourth century, when it underwent profound changes. Simultaneously a study of classical Greek literature and an analysis of cultural production, this collection reveals how for two centuries Athens itself was transformed, staged as comedy, and, ultimately, shaped by contemporary material, social, and ideological forces.

The contributors are Elizabeth Bobrick, Gregory Crane, Gregory Dobrov, Malcolm Heath, Jeffrey Henderson, Timothy P. Hofmeister, Thomas K. Hubbard, David Konstan, Heinz-GAnther Nesselrath, Frank Romer, Ralph M. Rosen, Niall W. Slater, and John Wilkins.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition — UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this high aerial survey of Athenian comedy Dobrov's scholarly chorus wings us challengingly past the old polarities of political satire and unpolitical fantasy. The polis is always there, and always reimagined: a new comic creation with its own laws of being, yet rooted in historical realities, dilemmas, and paradoxes that seem, for all their otherness, oddly familiar. Fasten your seat belts securely before you start reading!"—Kenneth J. Reckford, author of Aristophanes' Old-and-New Comedy
From the Publisher
Dobrov's scholarly chorus wings us challengingly past the old polarities of political satire and unpolitical fantasy.

Kenneth J. Reckford, author of Aristophanes' Old-and-New Comedy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807846452
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 2/23/1998
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 375
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory Dobrov is assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago. His books include Figures of Play and Beyond Aristophanes.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1 The Theory and Practice of Utopia
The Greek Polis and Its Negations: Versions of Utopia in Aristophanes' Birds 3
Utopianism and the Sophistic City in Aristophanes 23
Good Intentions and the [actual symbol not reproducible] 51
Performing the City in Birds 75
Language, Fiction, and Utopia 95
2 Playing Along the Fault Lines
Mass versus Elite and the Comic Heroism of Peisetairos 135
The Gendered Polis in Eupolis' Cities 149
The Tyranny of Roles: Playacting and Privilege in Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusae 177
Oikos and Agora: Mapping the Polis in Aristophanes' Wasps 198
Aristophanes and the Discourse of Politics 230
Comic Cuisine: Food and Eating in the Comic Polis 250
3 The New Comic Polis
The Polis of Athens in Middle Comedy 271
[actual symbol not reproducible]: Polis and Oikoumene in Menander 289
Contributors 343
Index 345
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