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It is no doubt true that the questions I would like to address in this chapter, which concern Aristophanes’ role (and more broadly, the role of Old Comedy) in disseminating and popularizing Greek tragedy, can never be answered adequately, given the nature of the evidence we have to work with. But it is also true that if any progress can be made in answering them, Alan Sommerstein’s magisterial editions of Aristophanes, as well as his other voluminous work on Greek drama, deserve a good deal of the credit for it. For during the course of his long-standing scholarly engagement with Aristophanes, Professor Sommerstein has often shown a particular interest in the interaction of comedy and tragedy during the Classical period, and his own contributions to this topic throughout his Aristophanes commentaries have directly inspired the discussion that follows.
Date Posted: 04 January 2007