Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.08.61
Alan H. Sommerstein, The Comedies of Aristophanes. Volume 5: Peace. 2nd ed. London: Aris & Phillips, 2005. Pp. 214. ISBN 0-85668-785-5. $36.00 (pb).
Reviewed by Martha Habash, Creighton University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Word count: 507 words
The first edition of Sommerstein's Peace was published in 1985 as the fifth in the Aris & Phillips series of Aristophanes' plays. The second edition of the play is a reprint by Antony Rowe Ltd. of the 1st edition. Minor corrections or adjustments to the translations are included in the body of the text. Otherwise, the second edition is nearly identical to the first except for a new Postscript to the Preface on p. vii and the Addenda on pp. 197-214. The addenda are divided into Introductory Note, Note on the Text and Table of Sigla, Text and Translation, Commentary, and Select Bibliography. The detailed reviews of the first edition by Bain, CR 36.2 (1986): 199-201; Parker, G & R 33.1 (1986): 87; and Olson, CW 82.2 (1988): 118-19 remain more than adequate for the second edition.
As a reprint, the copy is clean and retains the same pagination as the 1st edition. The only infelicity occurs on p. 9 where the printing went askew and the first letter of the first word of each line is missing.
The need for a second edition is arguably the only issue that needs to be evaluated. Sommerstein completed the Aris & Phillips series in 2001 with the publication of Wealth, whose copious addenda include updated bibliography, commentary, and corrections to the translations of all of the other comedies. Therefore, the addenda in the 2nd edition of Peace merely bring up to date the addenda to Peace featured in Sommerstein's Wealth of 2001.
A description of how the 2nd edition of Peace differs from the 1st edition and how the addenda to the 2nd edition of Peace differs from the addenda to Wealth follows:
Under Text and Table of Sigla: the text remains unchanged from the 1st edition, and the translation is altered in relatively minor ways, such as the change to "crimson" from "scarlet" (303), or "beds of leaves" from "palliasses" (347). Further, the notes in this section are identical to the ones published in the addenda to Wealth except that the new translations formerly embedded in the notes are now incorporated into the text, and there are a few cross-references to other addenda in Wealth that are suitably omitted in the 2nd edition of Peace.
Under Commentary: very few changes are made from the addenda to Wealth except to cite new information as offered in more recent scholarship, e.g., notes 523, 700-01 add bibliography from 2000 and 2002 respectively, and at 890 the note indicates a correction made by Olson.
Bibliography: the bibliography in the second edition of Peace is much more copious than the 1st edition and has been updated since the publication of Wealth, which includes an extensive and general bibliography as well as one specific to Wealth.
In short, I hesitate to recommend this edition to those colleagues who already own a copy of Sommerstein's first edition of Peace and Wealth. On the other hand, college and university libraries should own a copy for students and faculty looking for a current, comprehensive bibliography to the play.