Rhetoric, Comedy, and the Violence of Language in Aristophanes' Clouds

Rhetoric, Comedy, and the Violence of Language in Aristophanes' Clouds

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This is a thought-provoking reading of Aristophanes' Clouds. O'Regan's principle theme is the logos, or power of argument, and its effects; she also assesses the self awareness of the second Clouds as a comedy of logos directed towards a resistant audience. Within and without the play, the logos meets defeat when confronted with human nature. The argument conveys insight into Athenian thought and the play's workings, the more so because it balances rhetoric with comedy, reminds the reader that this is a comic logos, explored in the comic mode, and connected with the intentions and vicissitudes of the first and second Clouds.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 162.8 x 243.1 x 22.1mm | 537.46g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195070178
  • 9780195070170

Review quote

'There is a constant stream of provocative readings, which not only demonstrates tellinglyu the economy with which Aristophanes writes but also supports her thesis in suprising ways. O'R. is an assiduous and preceptive reader. ... those enjoying the unfettered play of signifiers in a text will derive pleasure and instruction from the book.' A.M. Bowie. Queen's College Oxford. Classical Review. Vol. XLIV 'This reading of the play is intelligent, perceptive, and very detailed, and should be consulted by everyone with an interest in Old Comedy.' Greece & Rome `O'Regan should be congratulated for this careful, provocative reading of the Clouds. It carries great interest, brings much of value to the study of this central play. It fills a gap.` Kenneth Reckford, UNC. `This thesis is well worth pursuing and O'Regan's analysis contains much that is new and important.` Jeffrey Henderson, USC.show more

Back cover copy

This intelligent and thought-provoking reading of Aristophanes' Clouds focuses on logos, or the power of argument, and on the self-awareness of our second Clouds as a comedy of logos directed toward an audience made resistant by devotion to the body. Integrating the comical and philosophical agendas of the play and balancing rhetoric with comedy, O'Regan explores the Greek view of skillful speech as a kind of force and demonstrates the dramatic and thematic unity with which the Clouds challenges his conception. Discussing the differences between the play's first and second versions, O'Regan shows how the Clouds' comedy and its self-defined "history" tell the same story: onstage and off, speech is subordinate to human nature and desire. O'Regan's argument conveys much insight into fifth-century thought and the play's workings as well as placing the Clouds in the institutional and generic contexts of Athenian drama. Analyzing the role of the audience in the dynamic of the play and the impact of its comedy on the spectators, she argues that the Clouds is civic education, awakening personal reflections and contributing to the contemporary debate about democracy, language, and the city.show more

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