New Comedy

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

New Comedy


a genre of ancient Greek comedy (c. fourth and third centuries B.C.).

As a result of new social conditions that sharply curtailed the citizen’s political activities, New Comedy dealt exclusively with man’s private life. The themes of New Comedy were influenced by Euripides. In New Comedy (known to us from the works of Menander and fragments of the works of other poets) much was conventional. Stock characters included the miserly father, the youth in love, and the wily slave. Love was the principal theme. The comic element, if not entirely lacking, was of secondary importance. New Comedy exerted a very strong influence on Roman comedy, which in turn influenced European dramatists, including Shakespeare and Molière.


The Fragments of Attic Comedy, vol. 3. Edited by J. M. Edmonds. Leiden, 1961.


Tronskii, I. M. Istoriia antichnoi literatury, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1957.
Radtsig, S. I. Istoriia drevnegrecheskoi literatury, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1959.
Norwood, G. Greek Comedy. London, 1931.
Webster, T. B. L. Study in Later Greek Comedy. Manchester, 1953.
Webster, T. B. L. Monuments Illustrating New Comedy. London, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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