Humour, obscenity and Aristophanes

Robson, James (2006). Humour, obscenity and Aristophanes. Drama - studien zum antiken drama und seiner rezeption, 1. Tuebingen, Germany: Gunter Narr Verlag.

URL: http://www.narr.de/index.phtml?act=suchen&s1=38233...

Abstract

Humorous expression and obscene language are central - almost defining - features of Aristophanes’ plays and yet are areas which remain underexplored by Aristophanic scholars. In the case of humour, this is all the more surprising given the recent emergence of the discipline of Humour Studies and the influence that newly developed cognitive models for understanding humour have exerted in other academic disciplines. Obscene diction in Aristophanes has been the subject of more extensive study, but there nevertheless remain key questions to examine concerning the nature of obscenity and its effect on the ancient audiences of Aristophanes’ plays.
In Humour, Obscenity and Aristophanes, James Robson engages with Aristophanes as a writer of humorous and scurrilous drama, puts forward a new, alternative model for understanding humour and undertakes a re-examination of Aristophanic obscenity. Close attention to the linguistic micro-level of Aristophanes’ text is central to the book’s project and its final chapter comprises a detailed examination of Peace 819-921 where the humorous and obscene elements of Aristophanes’ text are brought to the fore.

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