PHILIP DOSSICK

Peaches and Plumbs Booksellers

The Birds

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The Birds

4.27

Aristophanes' The Birds is a timeless comedy, combining witty satire and raucous slapstick to delightful effect. Modern critics have acclaimed it as a perfectly realized fantasy remarkable for its mimicry of birds and for the gaiety of its songs.

His trademark bawdy comedy and dazzling verbal agility is much on display in The Birds, in which two cunning Athenians persuade the birds to build the utopian city of Necphelococcygia (which translates roughly as "Cloud Cuckoo Land"), thus obstructing the Olympian gods and installing themselves as new deities.

ARISTOPHANES (c. 445-386 BC) was a satirical playwright of ancient Athens. He had his first play produced when he was twenty-one, and wrote some forty plays in all. Little is known about his personal life, but he was twice threatened with prosecution in the 420s for his outspoken attacks on prominent politicians. In 405 however, his fortunes improved, and he was publicly honored for promoting Athenian unity in The Frogs. The Birds is generally recognized as one of Aristophanes' greatest masterpieces, for its incredibly imaginative plot and its clever lyrics.

 

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