Ralph Rosen, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA in 1956. Ph.D. from Harvard University, Cambridge. Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
Visitor (1 February 2012 – 30 June 2012)
Old Comedy, Gossip, and the Efficacy of Satire
This project will consider Aristophanic satire in relation to the larger NIAS proposal, which concerns the effects of rumour, false allegation, disinformation and gossip on mass audiences.
I will be specifically interested in three aspects of ‘satirical gossip’ in Aristophanes: first, I will consider Aristophanic characters who make claims about what satire is supposed to be accomplishing. This will include famously programmatic passages from the Aristophanic ‘parabases’, where the chorus leader claims to be speaking on behalf of the poet himself.
Second, I will identify and explore the various places in Aristophanes where characters comment on what we might call ‘gossip’, as a general social phenomenon. My main focus here will be an analysis of comic satire itself as a form of lalia (‘chatter’).
Finally, I will explore the question of satirical efficacy, with special attention to what modern sociological theorising about rumour and gossip can tell us about the reception of comic satire by the demos of Classical Athens.
Ralph Rosen, Making Mockery: The Poetics of Ancient Satire, Oxford University Press, 2007
Ineke Sluiter Ralph Rosen (eds.), Free Speech in Classical Antiquity, Leiden: Brill, 2004.
Ralph Rosen, “Old Comedy and the Iambographic Tradition”, APA American Classical Studies 19: Atlanta (now dist. Oxford University Press), 1988.