Louis MacNeice: The Classical Radio Plays
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for radio broadcast - ancient Greek and Roman history and literature.
The volume thus seeks to explore MacNeice's literary relationship with classical antiquity, including engagements with authors such as Homer, Thucydides, Aristophanes, Xenophon, Petronius, Apuleius, and Horace, in a variety of types of programmes from wartime propaganda work, which used ancient Greek history to comment on the international situation, to lighter entertainment programmes drawing on the Roman novel. MacNeice's educational background in classics, combined with his skill as a writer
and his ability in exploring radio's potential for creative work, resulted in programmes which brought the ancient world imaginatively alive for a massive, popular audience at home and abroad.
Each script is prefaced by an individual introduction, written by the editors and guest contributor Gonda Van Steen, detailing the political and broadcasting contexts, the relationship of the script with classical antiquity, notes on cast and credits, and the reception of each script's radio performance amongst contemporary listeners. The volume opens with a general introduction which seeks to contextualise the scripts in MacNeice's wider life and work for radio, and it includes an appendix of
extant MacNeicean scripts and recordings.