Synopses & Reviews
This is a book worthy of high praise. . . . All versions are exceedingly witty and versatile, in verse that ripples from one’s lips, pulling all the punches of Plautus, the knockabout king of farce, and proving that the more polished Terence can be just as funny. Accuracy to the original has been thoroughly respected, but look at the humour in rendering Diphilius’ play called Synapothnescontes as Three’s a Shroud. . . . Students in schools and colleges will benefit from short introductions to each play, to Roman stage conventions, to different types of Greek and Roman comedy, and there is a note on staging, with a diagram illustrating a typical Roman stage and further diagrams of the basic set for each play. The translators have paid more attention to stage directions than is usually given in translations, because they aim to show how these plays worked. This is a book to be used and enjoyed. --Raymond J. Clark, The Classical Outlook
These five new translations . . . take to its logical, lively conclusion the long-held but oft-ignored reality that Plautus and Terence were writers for the stage. These versions have verve: playability, liveliness, accessibility, unlike anything on library shelves today. Of modern-day attempts at Plautus-inspired music, for example, only Stephen Sondheim has excelled the inspired zaniness of Douglass Parker’s lyrics. There is much virtue to be measured here. . . . After reading these plays we might spend considerable thought on the possibility that conservative translations in the style of Barsby are less authentic--if such a thing can be measured--than those of Berg and Parker. . . . This is a deceptively important book, meriting a wide, attentive readership. . . . [Berg and Parker's] theater-friendly versions offer a vision of the future of Roman comedy, both scholarly and popular. The profession will be well repaid to take an appreciative look. --David Frauenfelder, North Carolina State University
Deena Berg and Douglass Parker’s Plautus & Terence: Five Comedies is a fascinating postmodernist rendition of some of the most postmodernist--metatheatrical, self-referential, sophisticated, stylized--literature classical antiquity has to offer. The sparkling and eminently performable translations are a hard act to precede, but the translator’s delightful introductions are a worthy match for their subjects. . . . Highly recommended. --John Wright, Northwestern University
This splendid sampling of Roman comedy is particularly welcome because Parker and Berg have combined the best known (and perhaps finest) comedies of Plautus and Terence (The Brothers Menaechmus, here 'Double Bind,' and Miles Gloriosus, here 'Major Blowhard,' and Adelphoe, 'The Brothers') with two rarer and rather special comedies: 'The Wild Wild Women,' Plautus' exuberant Bacchides, and 'The Mother-in-Law' (Hecyra), perhaps Terence's most modern comedy, important as evidence from ancient comedy for the evolution of the sentimental or psychological drama of everyday life. The translators are to be congratulated on their choices and their truly up-to-date versions; Parker is a veteran whose punning wit and swashbuckling idiom in his very actable Plautus scripts contrast nicely with the simple elegance of Berg's Terence."
—Elaine Fantham, Princeton University
Includes bibliographical references (p. xii-xiii).
Table of Contents
Major Blowhard = Miles Gloriosus. Double bind = Menaechmi. The wild, wild women = Bacchides / Plautus -- The mother-in-law = Hecyra. The brothers = Adelphoe / Terence.