Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 830 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TRANSLATIONS AND ADAPTATIONS.—A comprehensive view of the influence of Plautus on modern literatures is given by Reinhardstoettner, Spatere Bearbeitungen plautinischer Lustspiele (1886). Many adaptations for the Italian stage were produced between the years 1486 and 1550, the earliest (the Menaechmi) under the direction of Ercole I., duke of Ferrara. From Italy the practice spread to France, Spain, England and other countries. Of English plays, the interlude called Jack Juggler (between 1547 and 1553) was based on the Amphitruo, and the lost play called the Historie of Error (acted in 1577) was probably based on the Menae-chmi; Nicholas Udall's Ralph Royster Doyster, the first English comedy (acted before 1551, first printed 1566), is founded on the Miles gloriosus; Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors (about 1591) is an adaptation of the Menaechmi; and his Falstaff may be regarded as an idealized reproduction or development of the braggart soldier of Plautus and Terence--a type of character which reappears in other forms not only in English literature (e.g. in Shakespeare's Parolles and Ben Jonson's Captain Bobadil) but also in most of the literatures of modern Europe. Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew has been influenced in several respects (including the names Tranio and Grumio) by the Mostellaria. Ben Jonson produced a skilful amalgamation of the Aulularia and the Captivi in his early play The Case is Altered (written before 1599). Thomas Heywood adapted the Amphitruo in his Silver Age (1613), the Rudens in his Captives (licensed 1624), and the Mostellaria in his English Traveller (1633). Dryden's Amphitryon or the two Sosias (1690) is based partly on the Amphitruo, partly on Moliere's adaptation thereof ; Fielding's Miser (acted 1732) on Moliere's L'Avare rather than on the Aulularia, and his Intriguing Chambermaid (acted 1733) on Regnard's Le Retour imprevu rather than on the Mostellaria. There was no English translation, strictly so called, of any play of Plautus in the 16th or 17th century, except that of the Menaechmi by W. W. (probably William Warner), first printed in 1595, which Shakespeare mapossibly have used (in MS.) for his Comedy of Errors. A translation of the whole of Plautus in " familiar blank verse " by Bonnell Thorn-ton and others appeared in 1767 (2nd ed., 1769-1774). Five plays have been translated in the metres of the original by Sugden (1893). (E. A. So.)
TRANSOM (probably a corruption of Lat. transtrum, a...

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