Post-Aristophanic Comedy: Studies in the Social Outlook of Middle and New Comedy at Both Athens and Rome

Post-Aristophanic Comedy: Studies in the Social Outlook of Middle and New Comedy at Both Athens and Rome

Post-Aristophanic Comedy: Studies in the Social Outlook of Middle and New Comedy at Both Athens and Rome

Post-Aristophanic Comedy: Studies in the Social Outlook of Middle and New Comedy at Both Athens and Rome

Excerpt

1. The present study undertakes to sketch certain phases of the social outlook of the writers of Middle and New Comedy.

2. It is not a mechanically scientific study, for 'social outlook' defies that kind of science. Social outlook is a man's attitude toward his heredity and environment, but at the same time it is the product of that heredity and environment. A study of social outlook thus resolves itself into a study of milieu. But milieu has been for centuries the subject of energetic speculation.

3. That milieu plays some role in the life of the individual will be readily granted. But exactly to define the operations of its various phases in specific instances is obviously another matter. To confine the study to plays might seem to lighten the task, because a play is, after a manner of speaking, comparatively 'static.' That is, a play may be taken apart, finely analyzed, and reassembled, and taken apart again, as often as may be desired. But at once a two-fold problem arises: (1) The manner of this sectioning and sifting must be determined. (2) There must be established a criterion by which the results of the process may have an exact meaning, because it is always difficult to know if the playwright is expressing his individual attitude or merely writing 'in character.'1

4. An exact study of the proposed subject, then, only the psychologist can produce, if ever he develops the complete implications of his science, or art.

5. Another difficulty lies in the fact that Middle Comedy and New Comedy exist only in fragments, papyrus scraps, Latin adaptations -- and scores of scholarly dissertations. . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.