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2 - Persa

Whose Play Is It Anyway?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2022

Emilia A. Barbiero
Affiliation:
New York University
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Summary

Chapter 2 begins by examining the correspondence between lovers Toxilus and Lemniselenis, using it to further investigate the metatheatrical dynamics of written correspondence on the Plautine stage and to consider the love letter qua category of epistolary writing. Next, it considers the ruse enacted via forgery. Relying on the same letter-as-script and letter-as-scheme metaphor active in Bacchides, Persa establishes an association between writing and belief to meditate on the nature of theatrical illusion. This chapter continues, then, to unpack the synergy between performance and text in Plautus but it focuses on the other end of the epistolary and dramatic processes via analysis of Persa’s onstage reading scene, which generates a simultaneously theatrical and anti-theatrical vision of an actor reading his lines on stage. Finally, I concentrate on Persa’s deception which replicates the content of the larger play it inhabits, delving deeper into the mechanics of mise-en-abymes to show how Plautus employs embedded text and internal dramaturgy to address the problem of creative originality, prompting us to question whose play we are watching.

Type
Chapter
Information
Letters in Plautus
Writing Between the Lines
, pp. 57 - 85
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Persa
  • Emilia A. Barbiero, New York University
  • Book: Letters in Plautus
  • Online publication: 01 December 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009168502.003
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Persa
  • Emilia A. Barbiero, New York University
  • Book: Letters in Plautus
  • Online publication: 01 December 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009168502.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Persa
  • Emilia A. Barbiero, New York University
  • Book: Letters in Plautus
  • Online publication: 01 December 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009168502.003
Available formats
×