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Plautus Menaechmi (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics) Paperback – 12 Jan 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (12 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521349702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521349703
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 1.6 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 520,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"The commentary is lengthy and detailed. Teachers and graduate students will want to consult this edition...." Religious Studies Review

"Professional classicists will be impressed not just by the quantity of information presented on its pages, but by the quality and originality of the author's scholarship, the amount of painstaking labor that he has invested in every sophisticated analysis, and the graceful precision of his writing." Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Book Description

Dr Gratwick provides a newly constituted text, a commentary for students giving help with language and context, and an introduction which sheds new light on the interpretation of Plautus's comedy Menaechmi.

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This has a special use in that it gives guidance on Plautus's metre.
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Very good"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa15e3cfc) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1628b34) out of 5 stars Plautus: Menaechmi 3 Nov. 2006
By M. Folch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a first class commentary and a must for anyone interested in the history of Roman comedy. The introduction is clear; the explanation of meter is advanced but insightful; the discussion of the Greek origins of the comedy of errors is useful; and the commentary is tailored to the mid- to upper-level Latin student. I used this text for an advanced Latin course and found it quite good. The single drawback is the play itself - its crafting, structure, and sense of humor can appear clumsy and foreign to the tastes of modern students.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1635594) out of 5 stars A.S. Gratwick's commentary on Plautus's Menaechmi 12 Dec. 2012
By Eustathios - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a review of A.S. Gratwick's commentary on Plautus's Menaechmi for the Cambridge green and yellow series. This play is about a set of twin brothers who are separated as very young children and then reunited as adults after a long day during which each twin is constantly mistaken for the other, with highly farcical results. "Menaechmi" is one of the major sources and inspirations for Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors", and besides the play's extended, classic treatment of mistaken identities, it contains much of interest in terms of social history (e.g. discussions of Roman court procedure, the patron-client relationship, the symptoms and treatment of madness, and life in a thriving port city). I especially found the fraught interactions between both brothers Menaechmi and the married brother's unnamed wife, his father-in-law, and his mistress to be a very engaging and thought-provoking (if stylized and farcical) study of dysfunctional family dynamics.

This edition contains a 63 page introduction, 1162 lines of Latin text, a little over 110 pages of commentary, a very thorough bibliography up through 1990, an index, and four brief appendices containing, respectively, an overview of the textual criticism on the play, a metrical conspectus, a discussion of Plautine prosody, and a statistical analysis of Plautus's senarius. Taken as a whole, this book is definitely pitched to a more advanced, professional audience, but I would estimate that a reader with at least 3-4 years of Latin experience would be able to read "Menaechmi" using the commentary with fairly minimal frustration. The commentator does an excellent job anticipating the reader's questions and translation difficulties, and virtually all of the tricky or colloquial Latin phrasing is rendered into very literal translation-ese. Besides making comments on textual problems and meter (see below), the commentator will also clarify obscure historical and cultural allusions, discuss lexical and etymological questions with reference to the OLD and other Latin authors, and make observations about the staging and literary qualities of the play. The introduction provides a very judicious overview of Plautus's career and his place (and the place of Menaechmi) in the development of ancient comedy, and there are occasional references and direct comparisons to other Plautine plays in the commentary proper as well.

The most prominent and the most noteworthy feature of this edition, however, is the emphasis that is placed on metrical analysis and textual criticism. The discussion of meter takes up a great deal of space in the introduction, commentary, and the appendices, and it is the most complex, detailed, and polemical treatment of meter that I have come across in any putatively non-specialist commentary on a Roman Comedy. The Latin text itself is also printed with all short vowels, the onset of longa, and brevis in longo marked, as well as with line breaks and spacing that reflect the metrical properties of the text. I can lay claim to some proficiency in scanning the various Plautine meters, but, even so, a fair amount of Gratwick's discussion of meter went over my head. Gratwick's treatment of meter is thus something one can profitably peruse after completely mastering the basics, not before.

I found Gratwick's philological engagement with the manuscript tradition of the play and with the textual criticism on it much more accessible than his treatment of meter (though of course the two treatments overlap to some degree given the importance of meter in establishing the text). Gratwick provides a detailed apparatus criticus and a critical text that reflects quite a number of his own emendations, conjectures, and editorial choices. Unusually for the green and yellow series and most commentaries geared towards non-specialist readers, the editor has chosen to leave a relatively high number of "daggers" and empty positions in the text rather than print a smoother text using overly speculative conjectures. Again, I am not enough of an expert to evaluate the validity of any of Gratwick's textual choices (which he discusses in detail in the commentary proper), but this approach does at least have the effect of allowing a non-expert reader to access, understand, and appreciate the enduring uncertainties and controversies that remain when it comes to establishing the text of "Menaechmi". This book is therefore one of those very rare non-specialist commentaries that can serve as a useful introduction to textual criticism, and for this reason, as well as for its excellent quality in other respects, it is an especially important and useful resource for anyone with a serious interest in Plautus.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1635474) out of 5 stars A generally good source 12 Mar. 2007
By John F. Hawley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having just completed teaching this text in a course, I'd say there is one main difficulty. This looks like an old typescript done in courier font that's been put into book form. It would benefit from a reset of the font and a more readable design. Other than that, maybe an update with more recent articles on the play would be in order. I'll use it again, but hope Bolchazy Carducci will do a remake. Otherwise a very usable book.
HASH(0xa1635564) out of 5 stars fell apart on me 28 May 2011
By boris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A well-presented, scholarly edition, with copious notes, but the binding on my copy was old and brittle, and fell apart almost instantly. I managed to glue it back together, but with some difficulty, and with the break still being somewhat conspicuous. If you don't want to take that risk, don't get it, because I may not be alone, but if you should get lucky and get a sturdy one, it is marvellous, and the notes are thorough. It is not for the fainthearted, but then that could be said for Latin as a whole, so if you think you are ready for unadapted texts with more trouble spent on scholarship that pedagogy, go for it. There is no vocab section, so you will rely on a dictionary, or less, if you are really clever. If you want more of a beginners' edition, go for Lawall and Quinn instead.
HASH(0xa163f48c) out of 5 stars Three Stars 23 Jun. 2015
By Auntie Ane's Attic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Required for school. Kept my attention while in class.
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