Funny Words in Plautine Comedy

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9780195341447: Funny Words in Plautine Comedy
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Plautus, Rome's earliest extant poet, was acclaimed by ancient critics above all for his mastery of language and his felicitous jokes; and yet in modern times relatively little attention has been devoted to elucidating these elements fully. In Funny Words in Plautine Comedy, Michael Fontaine reassesses some of the premises and nature of Plautus' comedies. Mixing textual and literary criticism, Fontaine argues that many of Plautus' jokes and puns were misunderstood already in antiquity, and that with them the names and identities of some familiar characters were misconceived. Central to his study are issues of Plautine language, style, psychology, coherence of characterization, and irony. By examining the comedian's tendency to make up and misuse words, Fontaine sheds new light on the close connection between Greek and Roman comedy. Considerable attention is also paid to Plautus' audience and to the visual elements in his plays. The result is a reappraisal that will challenge many received views of Plautus, positioning him as a poet writing in the Hellenistic tradition for a knowledgeable and sophisticated audience. All quotations from Latin, Greek, and other foreign languages are translated. Extensive indices, including a "pundex," facilitate ease of reference among the many jokes and plays on words discussed in the text.

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About the Author:


Michael Fontaine is Assistant Professor of Classics, Cornell University.

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"Every reader of this work will find out for himself what to accept, what to doubt and what to refuse. But all the scholars who are interested in Plautine comedy should read this innovative book." --Ancient History Bulletin Online Reviews


"a bold approach that seeks to unlock the puzzle of all these passages with a unified explanation that calls for a radical reappraisal of Plautine comedy." --Greece and Rome


"This is a superb study of Plautine verbal play, both in its originality and in its far-reaching implications for Plautus' dramatic art. Anyone interested in exploring the complex adaptation, and especially at this critical juncture in the process, will learn much from Fontaine's pellucidly argued, refreshingly jargon-free, and richly indexed study of Plautus' funny words." --New England Classical Journal


"Funny Words in Plautus is an accessible, densely argued work that will inspire future commentators at more than one point to rethink whatever Plautine text is the target of their labors. It's also a deft and engaging work of literary criticism, teaching its readers how much can be achieved by engaging in the kind of discursive philological and theoretical arguments that Michael Fontaine handles so well." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"...even if one is not persuaded that every single of the puns F. disentangles for us is more than a coincidence, his book is beyond doubt an important contribution to Plautine scholarship. F.'s imaginative use of philology and textual criticism and his insistence that we rethink our assumptions about Plautine theater make for a most thought-provoking book. I strongly recommend it to anyone seriously interested in Roman comedy." -- Eos


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2009. Hardback. Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Plautus, Rome s earliest extant poet, was acclaimed by ancient critics above all for his mastery of language and his felicitous jokes; and yet in modern times relatively little attention has been devoted to elucidating these elements fully. In Funny Words in Plautine Comedy, Michael Fontaine reassesses some of the premises and nature of Plautus comedies. Mixing textual and literary criticism, Fontaine argues that many of Plautus jokes and puns were misunderstood already in antiquity, and that with them the names and identities of some familiar characters were misconceived. Central to his study are issues of Plautine language, style, psychology, coherence of characterization, and irony. By examining the comedian s tendency to make up and misuse words, Fontaine sheds new light on the close connection between Greek and Roman comedy. Considerable attention is also paid to Plautus audience and to the visual elements in his plays. The result is a reappraisal that will challenge many received views of Plautus, positioning him as a poet writing in the Hellenistic tradition for a knowledgeable and sophisticated audience. All quotations from Latin, Greek, and other foreign languages are translated. Extensive indices, including a pundex, facilitate ease of reference among the many jokes and plays on words discussed in the text. Seller Inventory # APC9780195341447

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