Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Jonathan Bate reviews...

Comedy concentrates on the battle of the sexes and the road to marriage - but not in the hands of the first comedian, Aristophanes, whose plays are 'topical, bawdy and political' and, for Segal, 'a form of fertility ritual'. It was the father of 'New Comedy', Menander, who abandoned this formula and established the one that has endured for centuries. Segal shows how closely based Menander's work was on Euripides (e.g. HELEN and ION), romanticising, domesticating and subverting his tragic text. Shakespeare perfected this tragi-comic art. Bate feels that Segal underestimates the female element in comedy, and is not convinced that comedy is 'dead': what of Chekhov, Billy Wilder, Joe Orton and Tom Stoppard [another FoC Patron]? For all that, 'Segal is a learned, witty and companionable guide'.

[FRIENDS will be interested to learn that Jeannie Cohen, our executive secretary, helped to prepare this book for publication.]

No comments:

Post a Comment