Eight Great Comedies

Eight Great Comedies


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“A remarkably rich and stimulating volume...A unique blending of emotional and intellectual experience.”—Los Angeles Times

Here in one volume are the complete texts of eight of the world’s greatest plays, masterful examples of the comic view of life in drama. This outstanding treasury of great reading includes the bawdy humor of Machiavelli’s Mandragola; the poignant, searching wit of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya; the ironic social comment of Shaw’s Arms and the Man; and five other influential works, including a new translation of Molière’s satire The Miser, which the editors have prepared especially for this book.

Accompanied by provocative essays that define and explore the spirit, structure, and meaning of comedy, this unique volume is an ideal companion to the editors’ Eight Great Tragedies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452011700
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/28/1996
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Sylvan Barnet wrote numerous texts analyzing the works of Shakespeare as well as the writing craft. He was the general editor for Signet Classics Shakespeare as well as professor emeritus at Tufts University. He died in 2016.

Morton Berman is professor emeritus of English as Boston University.

William Burto served as the chair of the Department of English as Lowell State College, which became University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He wrote several texts focusing on the poetry of Shakespeare. He died in 2013.

Table of Contents

Eight Great ComediesThe Comic View: An Introduction

Aristophanes: The Clouds, translated by Benjamin Bickley Rogers
Niccolò Machiavelli: Mandragola, translated by J. R. Hale
William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night
Molière: The Miser, translated by Sylvan Barnet, Morton Berman, and William Burto
John Gay: The Beggar's Opera
Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest
Anton Chekhov: Uncle Namya, translated by Marian Fell
George Bernard Shaw: Arms and the Man

G. K. Chesterton: On the Comic Spirit
Bonamy Dobrée: Comedy
Susanne K. Langer: The Comic Rhythm
Northrop Frye: The Structure of Comedy


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Eight Great Comedies 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
aethercowboy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Featuring a collection of eight comedies across the ages and from different countries, Sylvan Barnet et al manage to give a broad overview of the dramatic category, whetting the appetite, making the reader want more.From Aristophanes to Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde, this collection of classical comedies will not always make you laugh, but the will most certainly make you appreciate the dramatic craft just a bit more.With essays by noted experts preceding the works, this book is as much entertainment as it is critical analysis. Sure to please both fans of drama as well as drama critique.