The comedies of Aristophanes are known not only for their boldly imaginative plots but for the ways in which they incorporate and orchestrate a wide variety of literary genres and speech styles. Unlike the writers of tragedy, who prefer a uniformly elevated tone, Aristophanes articulates his dramatic dialogue with striking literary and linguistic juxtapositions, producing a carnivalesque medley of genres that continually forces both audience and reader to readjust their perspectives. In this energetic and original study, Charles Platter interprets the complexities of Aristophanes' work through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin's critical writing.
This book charts a new course for Aristophanic comedy, taking its lead from the work of Bakhtin. Bakhtin describes the way multiple voices—vocabularies, tones, and styles of language originating in different social classes and contexts—appear and interact within literary texts. He argues that the dynamic quality of literature arises from the dialogic relations that exist among these voices. Although Bakhtin applied his theory primarily to the epic and the novel, Platter finds in his work profound implications for Aristophanic comedy, where stylistic heterogeneity is the genre's lifeblood.