Claire Sommers (Washington University-St. Louis)
Barry Spence (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
This panel will explore the tropes of ancient comedy and their
influence on more modern literature, drama, satire, film, and theory. Possible
approaches include: analyzing comedy’s relationship with other ancient genres;
examining ancient comedy’s influence on post-Classical works, using modern critical
and humor theory to analyze classical comedy; and exploring the comic and
satirical treatment of Greco-Roman subject matter in post-Classical literature.
The goal of this session will be to understand humor through its Classical
antecedents, tracing the evolution of comedy from its ancient origins to the
present day. By contemplating the emergence of ancient comedy and its enduring
effect on subsequent literature, drama, film, and theory, this panel will
synthesize its own theory of ancient comedy and determine why we are still
laughing so many centuries later.