Lessons from Aristophanes

Behrakis Professor in Hellenic Political Studies Robert C. Bartlett presents new translations of Aristophanes’ most overtly political works in the new publication, Against Demagogues: What Aristophanes Can Teach Us about the Perils of Populism and the Fate of Democracy, New Translations of the Acharnians and the Knights (University of California Press, 2020). The comedic plays make clear the dangers to which democracies are prone and Bartlett disentangles Aristophanes’ serious teachings from the many jokes and pratfalls. The book features an interpretive essay for each play, expertly guiding readers through important plot points, explaining the significance of various characters, and shedding light on the meaning of the plays’ often madcap episodes. Along with a contextualizing introduction, Bartlett offers extensive notes explaining the many political, literary, and religious references and allusions. Bartlett’s other publications include the translations Aristotle’s Art of Rhetoric and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (with Susan Collins), and the book Sophistry and Political Philosophy: Protagoras’ Challenge to Socrates.

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