Wasps and Other Plays

Wasps and Other Plays
'No matter which way you look at us, you'll find that we're in all respects; Remarkably wasp-like in our habits, in every aspect of our lives.'

Aristophanes is the only surviving representative of Greek Old Comedy, an exuberant form of festival drama which flourished in Athens during the fifth century BCE. One of the most original playwrights in the entire Western tradition, his comedies are remarkable for their brilliant combination of fantasy and satire, their constantly inventive manipulation of language, and their use of absurd characters and plots to expose his society's institutions and values to the bracing challenge of laughter.

This is the third and final volume of a new verse translation of the complete plays of Aristophanes. It contains four of his most overtly political plays: Acharnians, in which an Athenian farmer rebels against the city's war policies; Knights, a biting satire of populist demagogues; Wasps, whose main theme is the Athenian system of lawcourts; and Peace, in which escape from war is symbolized in images of rustic fertility and sensuality. The translation combines historical accuracy with a sensitive attempt to capture the rich dramatic and literary qualities of Aristophanic comedy. Each play is presented with a thought-provoking introduction and extensive editorial notes to accompany the vivid translations, balancing performability with faithfulness to the original.

Publication Date: 
June 14, 2024