Plautus’ Epidicus 1–305: introduction, text, translation, commentary

Harman, Robert Sean (2016) Plautus’ Epidicus 1–305: introduction, text, translation, commentary. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Plautus’ Epidicus focuses on the titular cunning slave, who is on stage for all but 15 of these first 305 lines, and his attempts to rescue himself from certain punishment, after his initial scheme almost collapses with news of a change of heart from his young master. He brings about a dizzying number of deceptions to extricate himself, eventually winning his freedom at the expense of virtually every other character.

This commentary aims to recuperate what has all too often been seen as one of Plautus’ minor works, by demonstrating how several alleged incongruities have been misinterpreted, how Epidicus controls and shapes the many plots and plans of this breakneck play, and how the compactness of this drama makes for a unique and compelling comedy.

The focus is on the performance and dramatic value of Epidicus, bringing in approaches which have developed since George Duckworth’s 1940 commentary, the last in English. The format enables both line-by-line discussion of the text and approaches to sections and scenes as a whole. Linguistic, metrical and textual discussion are brought to the play anew, building on recent research to not merely explain what the quirks of Plautus’ language, metre and text are, but what it is they do.

In all, this thesis aims to fulfil Malcolm Willcock’s desideratum for ‘any general view that this is actually a well conceived, witty and enjoyable play’ – and indeed to provide not merely a general view of its worth, but a detailed and thorough approach to its excellence.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Finglass, Patrick
Malloch, Simon
Keywords: Plautus, Epidicus, Roman comedy, Latin literature, commentary, drama
Subjects: P Language and literature > PA Classical philology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 33546
Depositing User: Harman, Robert
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2016 12:43
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2017 19:18

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