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Behind the Mask : Character and Society in Menander (Hardcover) (Angela M. Heap)
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This is the first study of Menander, one of the most popular of ancient dramatists, who wrote over 100 plays. Although most have been lost, what survives was only rediscovered in the 20th century, and his work has not yet had the scholarly attention it deserves. Seeking to address this gap, Angela Heap introduces her reader to the texts, archaeology and performance of Menander. Using the remarkable finds on the Aeolian island of Lipari as a starting point, she explores the mystery of the loss of the plays, their rediscovery, and key questions surrounding the transmission of these and other Greek texts.
Turning to the historical background and the plays themselves, the book engages with recent and current debates about the importance of social status and citizenship in Menander. The more traditional approach to the plays, through a study of Menander's comic predecessors and their stereotypical characters is also analysed and questioned. The second half of the book incorporates an examination of substantial new finds and looks at the characterisation of women, men and slaves. The book goes behind the mask of this masked comedy to find surprisingly subversive conundrums can be raised in a lively and wide-ranging contribution to scholarship on Menander.