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Costume in the Comedies of Aristophanes

AUD$134.50 exc GST

  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107083790
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About the Authors
  • This book offers an interpretation of the handling of costume in the plays of the fifth-century comic poet Aristophanes. Drawing on both textual and material evidence from the fourth- and fifth-century Greek world, it examines three layers of costume: the bodysuit worn by the actors, the characters' clothes, and the additional layering of disguise. A chapter is also devoted to the inventive costumes of the comic chorus. Going beyond describing what costumes looked like, the book focuses instead on the dynamics of costume as it is manipulated by characters in the performance of plays. The book argues that costume is used competitively, as characters handle each other's costumes and poets vie for status using costume. This argument is informed by performance studies and by analyses of gender and the body.

    • Includes evidence from texts and material cultures
    • Of interest to scholars in both classics and theater studies
    • Offers interpretations of costumes as part of whole plays of Aristophanes
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book should be as invaluable for theater historians as for classicists. An illuminating and witty pleasure to read, it marks a great leap forward in our understanding of how costume makes meaning in comedy.' Niall W. Slater, The Classical Journal

    '… Compton-Engle has produced an important, thought-provoking work, badly missing from scholarship to date. Despite recent work in the field, comic costume remains still a mainly untrodden path, and this book will no doubt impel further discussion and scholarly debate. It is well-written and well-produced, and highly recommended to students and teachers, to specialists of comedy, and to those interested in gender and performance studies.' Natalia Tsoumpra, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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    Customer reviews

    30th Jan 2018 by Lydialia

    Something of the same connection of exposurewith vulnerability, defeat, and sexual submission may partly explain why comic protagonists are more interested in exposing others than in revealing themselves. Aside from choral stripping and the instances in Lysistrata, the only other voluntary disrobing in Aristophanes occurs in Clouds,where the Stronger Logos drops his cloak at the end of the agon in an explicit gesture of defeat: “I’m beaten. Buggers, take my cloak, by the gods I’m deserting to your side”

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107083790
    • length: 210 pages
    • dimensions: 262 x 186 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 31 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: comic costume in action
    2. The comic body as costume
    3. Cloaks, shoes, and societal redress
    4. Disguise, gender, and the poet
    5. Animal costumes and choral spectacle
    6. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Gwendolyn Compton-Engle, John Carroll University
    Gwendolyn Compton-Engle is Associate Professor of Classics at John Carroll University. She has taught at Colgate University and St Olaf College. She has published several articles on Aristophanes, including one that was awarded the Gildersleeve Prize from the American Journal of Philology in 2003.

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