March 2017


Leon Grek - Staging the City: Comic Translation in Rome and London

  • Monday, 6 March 2017 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

In both classical antiquity and the European Renaissance, dramatic comedy was the literary genre most closely associated with the city, and with the everyday lives of its urban audiences. It was also among the most mobile of cultural forms. Festival-goers in Republican Rome watched Latin translations of Greek comedies set in Athens, Ephesus, and Cyrene; sixteenth-century Ferrarese nobles had a taste for Italian adaptations of Roman comedies with local settings; and audiences at London’s Globe Theater enjoyed English imitations of classicizing Italian comedies, set in Florence, Venice, and Padua. This talk will consider the interactions between these two dynamics – comic urbanism on the one hand, comic translation on the other – in Rome at the beginning of the second century BCE, and in London at the end of the sixteenth century CE. In both cases, I will suggest, comic translation played an important role in helping to define the status of the rapidly expanding, but still peripheral imperial metropolis in relation to its broader Mediterranean cultural world.

Leon Grek is the Paul Mellon / Frank Brown Rome Prize Fellow in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the American Academy in Rome and a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University, New Jersey.

The shoptalk will be held in English. You can watch this event livestreamed at

Please note: valid photo ID is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 (inches 16 x 14 x 6) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.