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Title: Aristophanes and Euripides : a palimpsestuous relationship
Author: May, Gina
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2012
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Aristophanes allows Euripides to interrupt constantly. In Athenian comedy of the fifth century they are on stage together, both literally and figuratively. Despite Aristophanes’ comedies having a meaning of their own, Euripides’ lines are so clearly visible underneath them that they can only be described as the verbal equivalent of a palimpsest. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a palimpsest as a manuscript or piece of writing on which later writing has superimposed or effaced earlier writing, or something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form. It is clear that a palimpsest is the product of layering that results in something as new, whilst still bearing traces of the original. Dillon describes the palimpsest as " ... an involuted phenomenon where otherwise unrelated texts are involved and entangled, intricately interwoven, interrupting and inhabiting each other". Aristophanes takes texts, particularly those of Euripides, which may otherwise have been unrelated, and weaves them together to form something new. I will show that in a number of cases Aristophanes offers scenes that have already been performed in Euripides’ plays but lays his own plot over the tragedian’s, whilst at the same time drawing the audiences’ attention to the original. The nature of this borrowing overwrites Kristeva’s theory of ‘intertextuality’ and provides a new and more apposite name for the permutation of texts in which the geno-text corresponds to infinite possibilities of palimpsestuous textuality (and the pheno-text to a singular text, which contains echoes of what it could have been). The plurality of Euripides’ texts, whilst engendering those of Aristophanes, constantly interrupts them. Through the consideration of ancient and modern literary theory and by a close analysis of Aristophanes’ and Euripides’ plays, this thesis sets out to offer a new reading of the relationship between these two poets. It shows that they were engaged in a dialogue of reciprocal influence that came to a head at the end of the Peloponnesian War.
Supervisor: Alwis, Anne; Laurence, Ray; Keaveney, Arthur Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PA Classical philology