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Michael Silk presents a radically new critical study of Aristophanes. Against the limited view of Aristophanes as Athenian theatrical satirist, Professor Silk identifies him as one of the world's great writers. Through an exploration of Aristophanes' comic poetry, informed by a wide range of theory from Kierkegaard to Adorno, a particular consideration of Aristophanes' own understanding of his medium, and challenging comparisons with modern literature, this book adds a new chapter to the long-standing debate about the nature and potentialities of comedy. Close analyses of Aristophanes' language and style, lyric poetry, presentation of character, organizational structures, and humorous modes, are conducted in this spirit. The enigma of 'serious comedy' and of Aristophanes' complex preoccupation with tragedy is at the centre of a new assessment of Aristophanic comedy as a whole. All Greek in the text is translated; the versions offered seek to convey the distinctive character of the original.