Exits and Entrances in Menander

Exits and Entrances in Menander

Exits and Entrances in Menander

Exits and Entrances in Menander


Most studies of Menander's comedies concentrate on the playwright's talent for characterization and plot construction while ignoring his artful use of theatrical conventions to create live theater. This book, based on close readings of the surviving texts, is the first to examine systematically the techniques of stagecraft--particularly stage movement--employed by the playwright in his effort to work successfully within theatrical limits.


This book is a modified version of an Oxford M. Litt. thesis submitted in 1984. In preparing the work for publication I have deleted or severely condensed the sections of the thesis which dealt with Roman Comedy, partly to focus more sharply on the surviving Menander and partly through a privately held scepticism about the value of the 'Latin Menander' to reconstruct anything beyond the most general outline of the Greek originals. However, I have usually tried to indicate further reading for those interested in linking more closely the Latin with the Greek evidence.

Stagecraft in ancient drama has inspired a good number of publications in the last decade, and all the fifth-century dramatists have received some kind of treatment. Perhaps it is because the fragments of Menander were discovered so recently that they have tended to be the preserve of textual critics or social historians, and it was largely through dissatisfaction at the secondary importance afforded to the plays as scripts for production that I was first led to examine the topic of stagecraft in Menander. The user of this book will decide whether I have successfully avoided crossing the thin line between legitimate deduction of action from the text and unsupported flights of fancy.

My postgraduate work was supervised by Mr P. G. McC. Brown of Trinity College, Oxford, who provided every encouragement to my research while restraining some of my wilder speculations; he is not, of course, to be held responsible for any of the views contained in this book. My examiners, Dr D. Bain of Manchester University and Mr J. C. B. Lowe of Bedford College, London provided a number of helpful suggestions. Finally I wish to thank my wife Kathryn for her encouragement during the writing of this work both as a thesis and then for publication. As a small token of thanks I dedicate it to her.


May, 1987 . . .

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