Comedy of Survival: A Path toward a Play Ethic / Edition 3

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Overview

Here, Joseph Meeker expands upon his consideration of comedy and tragedy, not as dramatic motifs for humor and sadness but rather as forms of adaptive behavior in the natural world that either promote our survival (comedy) or estrange us from other life forms (tragedy). In this third major edition of his classic work, Meeker examines the role of literature in shaping such behavior. Drawing upon centuries of western writing from Dante to Shakespeare to E. O. Wilson, he demonstrates the universality of comedy in both human and animal behavior and shows how the comic mode helps us to live in harmony with nature. Meeker then defines the tragic view of life, interweaving that behavior with exploitation of the environment. With imagination and flair, the author also introduces the idea of a play ethic, as opposed to a work ethic, and demonstrates the importance of play as a necessary and desirable component of the comic spirit. The Comedy of Survival is a book for literary critics, environmentalists, human ecologists, philosophers, and anthropologists. General readers, too, will find much to ponder in the author's clear explication of how all of us might become better stewards of this, our home planet Earth.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816516858
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Edition description: 3RD
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 150

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction to Literary Ecology 1
2 The Comic Way 12
3 Tragedy and Related Disasters 22
4 Hamlet and the Animals 37
5 The Pastoral and the Picaresque 50
6 New Stories 74
7 Dante and the Comic Way 88
8 Toying with a Play Ethic 104
Notes 119
Bibliography 125
Index 129
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