Four Plays of Menander: The Hero, Epitrepontes, Periceiromene and Samia

Four Plays of Menander: The Hero, Epitrepontes, Periceiromene and Samia

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Four Plays of Menander: The Hero, Epitrepontes, Periceiromene and Samia

Four Plays of Menander: The Hero, Epitrepontes, Periceiromene and Samia

Read FREE!

Excerpt

This edition has been prepared in the belief that American college students may now profitably read Menander, the unrivaled master of Plautus and Terence, if the text of the manuscript found at Aphroditopolis in 1905 is made available to them in an edition adapted to their needs. Menander should prove no more difficult to the average college freshman than Terence, and considerably less difficult than Plautus. To those who read Plautus and Terence in our colleges Menander should make a direct and forceful appeal, such is the lucidity and charm of his style, his fidelity to life in the portrayal of character, and the logical simplicity of his plots. Even the young student will be sensible of the difference in atmosphere between the more or less exotic Graeco-Roman comedies and those of the Greek poet, who depicts the men and women of his own day with the skill of one who knew them well and was himself a product of the social conditions in which they lived.

The chief difficulties that confront the editor who sets himself the task of adapting the new plays to the needs of college students arise from the illegibility and mutilation of certain portions of the manuscript and the fragmentary state in which the several plays are preserved. In dealing with mutilated and illegible lines I have generally attempted to supply a text which should duly take into account the preserved traces of writing and the reported extent of the lacunae and at the same time should yield a meaning consistent with the immediate context, with the plot as a whole, and with Menander's known stylistic and metrical usage. I am fully aware of the hazardous nature, in many instances, of such a procedure, and in particular of my own inability to achieve the ideal which Professor JOHN WILLIAMS WHITE so justly formulates in his authoritative discussion of the iambic trimeter in Menander: "to restore the mutilated verses of the poet, whenever this can be done, in . . .

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