The Acharnians/The Clouds/Lysistrata 'We women have the salvation of Greece in our hands' Writing at a time of political and social crisis in Athens, the ancient Greek comic playwright Aristophanes was an eloquent, yet bawdy, challenger to the demagogue and the sophist. In Lysistrata and The Acharnians, two pleas for an end to the long war between Athens and Sparta, a band of women on a sex strike and a lone peasant respectively defeat the political establishment. The darker comedy of The Clouds satirizes Athenian philosophers, Socrates in particular, and reflects the uncertainties of a generation in which all traditional religious and ethical beliefs were being challenged. Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Alan H. Sommerstein
The master of ancient Greek comic drama, Aristophanes combined slapstick, humour and cheerful vulgarity with acute political observations. In The Frogs, written during the Peloponnesian War, Dionysus descends to the Underworld to bring back a poet who can help Athens in its darkest hour, and stages a great debate to help him decide between the traditional wisdom of Aeschylus and the brilliant modernity of Euripides. The clash of generations and values is also the object of Aristophanes’ satire in The Wasps, in which an old-fashioned father and his loose-living son come to blows and end up in court. And in The Poet and the Women, Euripides, accused of misogyny, persuades a relative to infiltrate an all-women festival to find out whether revenge is being plotted against him.
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A poet who hated an age of decadence, armed conflict, and departure from tradition, Aristophanes' comic genius influenced the political and social order of his own fifth-century Athens. But as Moses Hadas writes in his introduction to this volume, 'His true claim upon our attention is as the most brilliant and artistic and thoughtful wit our world has known.' Includes The Acharnians, The Birds, The Clouds, Ecclesiazusae, The Frogs, The Knights, Lysistrata, Peace, Plutus, Thesmophoriazusae, and The Wasps. From the Paperback edition.
American adaptations of Aristophanes’ enduring comedy Lysistrata have used laughter to critique sex, war, and feminism for nearly a century. Unlike almost any other play circulating in contemporary theatres, Lysistrata has outlived its classical origins in 411 BCE and continues to shock and delight audiences to this day. The play’s "make love not war" message and bawdy humor render it endlessly appealing to college campuses, activist groups, and community theatres – so much so that none of Aristophanes’ plays are performed in the West as frequently as Lysistrata. Starting with the play’s first mainstream production in the U.S. in 1930, Emily B. Klein explores the varied iterations of Lysistrata that have graced the American stage, page, and screen since the Great Depression. These include the Federal Theatre’s 1936 Negro Repertory production, the 1955 movie musical The Second Greatest Sex and Spiderwoman Theater’s openly political Lysistrata Numbah!, as well as Douglas Carter Beane’s Broadway musical, Lysistrata Jones, and the international Lysistrata Project protests, which updated the classic in the contemporary context of the Iraq War. Although Aristophanes’ oeuvre has been the subject of much classical scholarship, Lysistrata has received little attention from feminist theatre scholars or performance theorists. In response, this book maps current debates over Lysistrata’s dubious feminist underpinnings and uses performance theory, cultural studies, and gender studies to investigate how new adaptations reveal the socio-political climates of their origins. Emily B. Klein is Assistant Professor of English and Drama at Saint Mary's College of California. Her work has appeared in Women and Performance and Frontiers as well as Political and Protest Theater After 9/11: Patriotic Dissent (Routledge, 2012).
Reissue of Aristophanes' most famous plays in the Methuen Classical Greek Dramatists series Aristophanes was a unique writer for the comic stage as well as one of the most revealing about the society for which he wrote.