Plautus and Terence

Plautus and Terence

Plautus and Terence

Plautus and Terence

Excerpt

Throughout this book I have adhered to my intention of discussing Plautus and Terence as dramatists. That is my justification for offering conclusions less traditional than is customary in such brief treatises; anyone who discusses these plays as plays will find that the present condition of Terentian and, still more, of Plautine scholarship compels him to write controversially if he loves good work and hates bad.

That the Mercator should be read by only one student for every hundred who read the Captivi is a fantastic perversion rendered possible only by a complete indifference to the very nature of drama. The depreciation of Terence is mainly due to the same cause. For many years scholars were content to study these works as documents of early Latin, as a mine of "allusions," as exercises in metre and rhythm, as anything rather than what their authors intended. Now that drama in Englishspeaking lands has become once more a living . . .

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