Shakespeare and Classical Comedy: The Influence of Plautus and Terence

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This book surveys Shakespeare's comedies, charting the influence upon them of the ancient playwrights, Plautus and Terence. Robert Miola analyses these sources, and places the comedies in their Renaissance context, as well as in the larger context of European theatre. Discovering new indebtedness, and discerning new patterns in previously attested borrowings, Shakespeare and Classical Comedy presents an integrated and comprehensive assessment of the complex interactions of the Classical, Shakesparian, and other Renaissance theatres. Robert Miola re-evaluates Plautus and Terence in the light of the Greek antecedents, and gives special attention to Renaissance translations and commentaries, Italian theorists, and playwrights, as well as contemporary dramtist such as Middleton, Joson, Heywood, and Chapman. Four broad catergories organize the discussion - New Comedic errors, intrigue, alazoneia, and romance - and each is illustrated by illuminating readings of individual Shakespearian plays. The author keeps in view Shakespeare's eclecticism, his habit of combining disparate sources and traditions, as well as the rich history of literary criticism and theatrical interpretation. The book concludes by discussing the presence of New Comedy in tragedy, in Hamlet and King Lear. Robert Miola's thoroughly researched book ranges over a vast amount of European drama, from Aristophanes to Beckett and Ionesco. It makes an important contribution to our understanding not only of Shakespeare and of his foremost antecedents, but also of his artistry and achievement.