By Gonda A.H. Van Steen
Aristophanes has loved a conspicuous revival in 19th- and twentieth-century Greece. the following, Gonda Van Steen offers the 1st severe research of the position of the classical Athenian playwright in glossy Greek tradition, explaining how the sociopolitical "venom" of Aristophanes' verses continues to be correct and attractive to fashionable Greek audiences. Deriding or hard famous figures and conservative values, Aristophanes' comedies transgress authority and proceed to talk to many social teams in Greece who've present in him a witty, pointed, and available champion from their "native" tradition.The ebook addresses the wider concerns mirrored within the poet's revival: political and linguistic nationalism, literary and cultural authenticity as opposed to creativity, censorship, and social strife. Van Steen's dialogue levels from attitudes towards Aristophanes ahead of and through Greece's struggle of Independence within the 1820s to these throughout the chilly conflict, from feminist debates to the importance of the preferred song built-in into comedian revival productions, from the havoc transvestite variations wreaked on gender roles to the political protest symbolized via Karolos Koun's directorial choices.Crossing obstacles of classical philology, serious conception, and function experiences, the ebook encourages us to re-examine Aristophanes' comedies as either play-acts and sleek tools of conversation. Van Steen makes use of fabric by no means earlier than available in English as she proves that Aristophanes is still Greece's immortal comedian genius and political voice.
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Extra info for Venom in Verse: Aristophanes in Modern Greece
In the chronology sketched by Koraes, a stimulating, intellectual atmosphere fostering genuinely good humor did not prevail until shortly before the democratic age of Aristophanes. Menander was the ﬁrst comic playwright to beneﬁt from that new cultural climate. Yet Koraes’ apologetic statements also betray Hellenic na- Poisoned Gift from Antiquity · 29 tionalist pride and a sense of identiﬁcation with Aristophanes, the classical writer of “most elegant comedies” in spite of their numerous vomolochies.
Yet these poles are at most organizing principles, because the totalizing cultural and political venture of comedy is richer than what can be pinned down on a binary, structuralist axis. INTERRUPTING SMOOTH PERFORMANCE? THE PARABASIS Aristophanes became the conduit of collective Romaic self-knowledge. He was the comic assertion of the Romaic principle of revisionism, which Prologue · 13 in times of strictly enforced law and order helped the pendulum of Greek society swing back to normalcy. He assumed the role and characteristics of the archetypal Romaic trickster, embodying the spirit of unsocialized mischief and anarchy.
Traumatic episodes of Greek identity formation mobilized the pliable Aristophanes to endorse certain assumptions, and to combat others, about texts, plays, politics, ideology, and criticism. I do not pursue the contested claim for continuity between old and new—between classical and contemporary Greek comic traditions, theater practices, and civilizations in general. The bearing of Aristophanes on modern Greece situates itself on a comparative, cross-cultural level, and the reception of his oeuvre opens up a historical perspective exceptional in its duration and diversity.