The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama


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-Günther Nesselrath, Frank Romer, Ralph M. Rosen, Niall W. Slater, and John Wilkins.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Thomas K. Hubbard
  • F. E. Romer
  • Niall W. Slater
  • Gregory W. Dobrov
  • Ralph M. Rosen
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Chapel Hill, NC
Publication year:
  • 1997