|An Essay on Comedy||3|
|I.||The Comic in General||61|
|The Comic Element in Forms and Movements||74|
|Expansive Force of the Comic||84|
|II.||The Comic Element in Situations and the Comic Element in Words||104|
|III.||The Comic in Character||146|
|Appendix||The Meanings of Comedy|
|I.||Our New Sense of the Comic||193|
|II.||The Ancient Rites of Comedy||214|
|III.||The Guises of the Comic Hero||226|
|IV.||The Social Meanings of Comedy||241|
Comedy: "An Essay on Comedy" by George Meredith. "Laughter" by Henri Bergson / Edition 1by Wylie Sypher, Henri Louis Bergson, George Meredith
Pub. Date: 04/01/1980
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
"Laughter makes us human" is the theme of these two classic works, one by the English novelist George Meredith, the other by the celebrated French philosopher Henri Bergson. Written some hundred years ago, largely in response to what their authors saw as the dehumanization of man in the industrial age, the essays still convey great sense and significance today.
Casting a critical eye on comic works throughout the ages, Meredith finds that the most skilled masters of the comic art--Aristophanes, Rabelais, Voltaire, Cervantes, Fielding Moliere--used comedy to grasp the essence of humanity. Comedy, according to Meredith's theory, serves an important moral and social function: it redeems us from our posturings, stripping away pride, arrogance, complacency, and other sins.
Bergson's essay looks at comedy within a wider field of vision, focusing on laughter and on what makes us laugh. His study examines comic characters and comic acts, comedy in literature and in children's games, comedy as high art and base entertainment, to develop a psychological and philosophical theory of the mainsprings of comedy.
Complementing the work of Meredith and Bergson is Wylie Sypher's appendix, an essay that discusses comedy and the underlying comic structure in both anthropological and literary contexts. Sypher offers an enlightening discussion of the relationship between comedy and tragedy and their link with the ritual purging of evil from a society by means of a scapegoat. He then goes on to examine the guises of the comic hero in such figures as the Wife of Bath, Don Quixote, and Falstaff, relating them to such great tragic figures as Oedipus, Faust, and Hamlet.
Through the many perspectives it offers, Comedy will appeal not only to students of literature and literary criticism, but to those studying philosophy and history as well.
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
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