Menander was the founding father of European comedy. From Ralph Roister Doister to What the Butler Saw, from Henry Fielding to P. G. Wodehouse, the stock motifs and characters can be traced back to him.The greatest writer of Greek New Comedy, Menander (c.341-290 BC) wrote over one hundred plays but until the twentieth century he was known to us only by short quotations in ancient authors. Since 1907 papyri found in the sand of Egypt have brought to light more and more fragments, many substantial,and in 1958 the papyrus text of a complete play was published, The Bad-Tempered Man (Dyskolos) . His romantic comedies deal with the lives of ordinary Athenian families, and they are the direct ancestors not only of Roman comedy but also of English comedy from the Renaissance to the present day.This new verse translation is accurate and highly readable, providing a consecutive text with supplements based on the dramatic situation and surviving words in the damaged papyri.
Menander (c. 341-291 BC) was the foremost innovator of Greek New Comedy, a dramatic style that moved away from the fantastical to focus upon the problems of ordinary Athenians. This collection contains the full text of 'Old Cantankerous' (Dyskolos), the only surviving complete example of New Comedy, as well as fragments from works including 'The Girl from Samos' and 'The Rape of the Locks', all of which are concerned with domestic catastrophes, the hazards of love and the trials of family life. Written in a poetic style regarded by the ancients as second only to Homer, these polished works - profoundly influential upon both Roman playwrights such as Plautus and Terence, and the wider Western tradition - may be regarded as the first true comedies of manners.