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Menander: Plays & Fragments ; Theophrastus: Characters

by Theophrastus, Menander, Philip Vellacott (Translator)

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Characters. Much better than I thought it would be. Very funny. I had to take my specs off so I could wipe my eyes. Thirty satirical sketches of undesirable personality types, all delivered though gritted teeth in a tone of disbelief. Reminded me of the sort of role John Cleese might play. Some of the things Theophrastus describes are so specific I’m sure many of these characters would have been recognised by their fellow Athenians at the time. Also very interesting for the details of daily life that you just don’t get in more formal literary works.

The pairing with Menander is nice as you have teacher and pupil in the same volume. I’ve not read this translation as I read a different one some time go. Vellacott’s translations of Euripides are superb. Menander is worth reading if you’re interested in the history of the theatre.

Both authors have been given the Penguin Classics treatment usual at the time and smoothed out of popular consumption. Characters translates just the Ancient Greek text, but not the Byzantine interpolations that appear in the manuscripts. According to the introduction, Dyskolos was done for a radio production and some liberties have been taken with the allocation of lines. The 2nd edition (1973) has more Menander than had been discovered when the first edition came out. ( )
  Lukerik | Jul 2, 2022 |
Edition: // Descr: 247 p. 18.5 cm. // Series: The Penguin Classics Call No. { 882 M52.10 1 } Series Edited by Betty Radice and Robert Baldick Translated by Philip Vellacott. // //
  ColgateClassics | Oct 26, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Theophrastusprimary authorall editionscalculated
Menandermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Vellacott, PhilipTranslatormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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