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Feminine Discourse in Roman ComedyOn Echoes and Voices$
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Dorota M. Dutsch

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199533381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199533381.001.0001

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Introduction: Reading towards the Other

Introduction: Reading towards the Other

(p.1) 1 Introduction: Reading towards the Other
Feminine Discourse in Roman Comedy

Dorota M. Dutsch (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter surveys previous research on feminine speech patterns in Roman comedy and makes the case for a reading based on conversational analysis. This new reading draws upon statistics for the distribution of terms of endearment, polite modifiers, and references to pain, in order to foreground relational aspects of speech as the chief domain of gender differentiation in the palliata. The proposed method is then applied to several excerpts of female speech from Terence and Plautus. A close reading of these passages suggests that female characters in Roman comedy tend to stress closeness and intimacy both through explicit terms denoting relationships and through relevant verbal actions, such as discussing problems and paying attention to the problems of others.

Keywords:   conversation, discourse, Donatus, feminine speech, Plautus, Terence

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