Recent scholarship has ackwledged that the intertextual discourse of ancient comedy with previous and contemporary literary traditions is t limited to tragedy. This book is a timely response to the more sophisticated and theory-grounded way of viewing comedy's interactions with its cultural and intellectual context. It shows that in the process of its self-definition, comedy emerges as voracious and multifarious with a wide spectrum of literary, sub-literary and paraliterary traditions, the engagement with which emerges as central to its projected literary identity and, subsequently, to the reception of the genre itself. Comedy's self-definition through generic discourse far transcends the (narrowly conceived) 'high-low' division of genres. This book explores ancient comedy's interactions with Homeric and Hesiodic epic, iambos, lyric, tragedy, the fable tradition, the ritual performances of the Greek polis, and its reception in Platonic writings and Alexandrian scholarship, within a unified interpretative framework.
Emmanuela Bakola is Senior Research Associate at the Department of Greek and Latin, University College London. She has published a critically acclaimed monograph on Cratinus (Cratinus and the Art of Comedy, 2010) and several articles which explore the relationship of comedy to other genres. Her current project uses a cultural-anthropological framework to re-read the tragedies of Aeschylus, arguing that their dramaturgy, imagery, stage action, and engagement with religion, cult and ritual show that Aeschylean tragedy pervasively reflects on the human relationship to the Earth and its resources. Lucia Prauscello is Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Trinity Hall. She is the author of Singing Alexandria: Music Between Practice and Textual Transmission (2006) and has variously published on Greek archaic and Hellenistic poetry, drama, Greek religion and ancient music. Mario Tel- is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests mainly focus on Attic drama, and especially on Old Comedy, but he has also published in other areas of Greek literature (the Greek novel, ecphrastic literature, Roman tragedy and comedy). In 2007 he published a commentary on Eupolis' Demoi, the best-preserved fragmentary play of Old Comedy. He is currently working on a project to provide new readings of Knights, Wasps, Clouds and Peace by exploring the role that intergenerational thematics play in Aristophanes' definition of his comic identity in relation to his audience and his rivals.