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Title: Defining the comic plot : genre and storytelling in Aristophanes
Author: Scott, N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8497 9673
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This dissertation examines the relationship between inter-generic interaction and plot structure in the plays of Aristophanes. Scholars have long observed that Athenian comedy engages with other poetic forms as part of its self-definition; however, studies have largely treated this as a highly localised phenomenon. By contrast, this thesis will argue that comedy's sustained reflection on its own generic status informs the construction of plot. The dissertation focuses primarily but not exclusively on the text; I also seek to integrate a consideration of staging, costume, and other visual aspects of Old Comedy into the discussion, and to examine the plays not only as poetic texts but as enacted drama. The dissertation aims to show firstly, that inter-generic interactions are deeply embedded in the plot structures of Aristophanes' plays; secondly, that these interactions are not exclusively parodic, but rather operate along a spectrum from the overtly antagonistic, to the merely contrastive and even incorporative; and thirdly, that sustained intergeneric engagement is not limited in Aristophanes to 'high' genres, such as tragedy and epic, but also encompasses 'low' discourses such as Aesopic fable. The dissertation suggests that Aristophanes' plays display a marked interest in not only the formal differences between genres, in the form of their poetics, aesthetics, or cultural status; but also in the kinds of narratives and modes of storytelling which belong to, and define, different genres. This interest in narrative, plot, and storytelling is in turn self- reflexive, as the plays investigate their own generic status through the prism of their plots, and the kinds of stories which they tell. The dissertation argues that the plays make a series of incursions into modes of storytelling associated with genres other than comedy; and that these different modes are accordingly incorporated not only into the comic plot, but into an expanding and deeply competitive definition of what constitutes comic storytelling. Each of the three chapters examines a different sub-genre of comic plot, namely animal comedy (in the Wasps); mythic comedy (in Peace and Birds); and 'women on top' plots (in the Thesmophoriazusae and Ecclesiazusae).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available