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The Comedies

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  732 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Terence was the outstanding comedic playwright of his generation and one of the founding fathers of European comic drama. All six of his plays survive and are collected in this volume. Acknowledged as classics soon after his early death, admired above all for their style but also for their insights into human nature, these plays have been imitated by authors as diverse Mol ...more
Paperback, 338 pages
Published April 9th 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published -160)
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Tara Calaby
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, humour, own, plays
Although I wouldn't actually call any of Terence's plays funny by my modern standards, they are much more elegantly crafted than those of Plautus and I find that his characteristic double plots lend themselves to a more interesting kind of comedy of errors. On the downside, the treatment of female characters is a little hard to accept, although in keeping with contemporary values.

Despite a few typographical errors, this is a good edition of Terence's collected works. Without comparing it to the
Alaide Mo
*Leí: El atormentador de sí mismo y sólo puedo decir: WTF con el final!
Petruccio Hambasket IV
Oxford edition has all of the Terentian plays (6) along with introductory notes at the beginning of each one.

When it comes to Roman Comedy I tend to see Plautus's work like a gently flowing clear stream, while his later successor Terence seems to resemble more of a loose faucet that can only be repaired through severe attention to the leaking details. Terence stuffs so much into his plays, if you aren't paying undivided attention it's genuinely hard to render his stream of writing cohesively in
Nov 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
but if you evaluate them one by one, they're relatively good. better than menander? plautus is much more fun. i suppose terrence is much more intelligent and has a better perspective on women...
The plays of Terence have been highly evaluated not only for their technical innovation (the "double plot"), but also for the smoothness of their writing, which is evident even in translation, and for the human element that they bring to stock characters. They are also entertaining to read on the page - with the exception of The Self-Tormentor (Heauton Timorumenos), which I found to be convoluted almost past the limit of comprehensibility - and would probably be so on stage, although necessarily ...more
Honestly, I enjoy Plautus much more. I don't know if it was Frank O. Copley's translation or what, but I found Terence's stock characters like, well, cardstock characters. Plautus' stock characters were more interesting to me. I also found the plots to be excessively predictable and sometimes difficult to swallow. I don't remember the treatment of women being quite so horrible in Plautus. "The Eunuch" was rather horrifying. I will say I absolutely loved the introduction, and that alone made this ...more
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Le commedie di Terenzio sono qualcosa che avevo studiato a scuola e di alcune ricordavo anche la trama, leggerle comunque fa tutto un altro effetto, in qualche modo attenua il bello delle parole perché le trame mi sembravano roba vecchia, tutta giá vista. Peccato che molte di queste trame le aveva elaborate lui per primo o aveva modificato dei canovacci che venivano direttamente dagli autori greci. Purtroppo resta comunque il fatto che queste commedie non mi hanno fatto impazzire, specialmente s ...more
Feb 08, 2016 marked it as consider  ·  review of another edition
The 10th century Hrotswitha of Gandersheim, used Terence as a model for her plays. (Hrotswitha was a nun, and the greatest playwright of the Ottonian age.) I guess that if a nun thought Terence worthy of emulation, despite his frequent bawdiness, then these plays are worth a look!

Woodcut by Albrecht Dürer of Hrotswitha and Emperor Otto
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terence is more seamless in his craft than Plautus or Aristophanes and, as a result, his plots lend themselves to greater philosophical reflection; though the plots are standard, Terence weaves a complicated web in each play that is all the more dazzling as it's functions are slowly revealed. The humor, too, is subtle, except perhaps in The Eunuch, and the inspiring element throughout is more humanistic than comedic, as with Menander. An eminently readable playwright, he must've made his Roman a ...more
Sep 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partial-read
Her Husband’s Mother – * I grimly read this knowing what might happen, and my worse suspicions were proven correct. I’d read Terence years ago and I remember thinking, “Does he have no plays that don’t revolve around rape and sexual assault?” Apparently not.

The happy end of the play runs like this: “Oh happy day, he’s the man that raped his wife before they were married, so he’s actually the father of the baby. Now all is right with the world! Oh joy!”

Is it possible to give this negative stars?
Nov 09, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bien que certaines pièces peuvent être drôle à la représentation, une en particulier est difficile à comprendre, certains détails ne sont pas dit. Bref, une bonne lecture mais sans plus.
Melissa Winterman
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not everyone's cup of tea, I found 'The Comedies' tobe entertaining, along with having some history in them.
Jul 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greek-roman
Roman fun but not as fun as Petronius.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Offensive Comedy reminds us that the world stands on absurdities
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Witty, urbane, etc. For a person who prefers slapstick, it was okay.
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  • The Pot of Gold and Other Plays
  • Four Tragedies and Octavia
  • Menander: The Plays and Fragments
  • The Poems
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • Epigrams
  • Rome and Italy: Books VI-X of the History of Rome from its Foundation
  • Pharsalia: The Civil War
  • Selected Letters
  • The Georgics
  • Bellum Catilinae
  • Alessandro, Cesare
  • Euripides II: The Cyclops / Heracles / Iphigenia in Tauris / Helen
  • The Cid / Cinna / The Theatrical Illusion
  • The Complete Plays
  • Idylls
Terence, Latin in full Publius Terentius Afer (born c. 195 bc, Carthage, North Africa [now in Tunisia]—died 159? bc, in Greece or at sea), after Plautus the greatest Roman comic dramatist, the author of six verse comedies that were long regarded as models of pure Latin. Terence’s plays form the basis of the modern comedy of manners. (

Publius Terentius Afer (195/185–159 BC), better k
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