Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

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Overview

In this great philosophical essay, Henri Bergson explores why people laugh and what laughter means. Written at the turn of the twentieth century, Laughter explores what it is in language that makes a joke funny and what it is in us that makes us laugh.
One of the functions of humor, according to Bergson, is to help us retain our humanity during an age of mechanization. Like other philosophers, novelists, poets, and humorists of his era, Bergson was concerned with the duality of man and machine. His belief in life as a vital impulse, indefinable by reason alone, informs his perception of comedy as the relief we experience upon distancing ourselves from the mechanistic and materialistic. "A situation is always comic," Bergson notes, "if it participates simultaneously in two series of events which are absolutely independent of each other, and if it can be interpreted in two quite different meanings." The philosopher's thought-provoking insights (e.g., "It seems that laughter needs an echo. Our laughter is always the laughter of a group.") keep this work ever-relevant as a thesis on the principles of humor.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604501063
  • Publisher: Arc Manor
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,061,020
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Henri-Louis Bergson (18 October 1859 - 4 January 1941) was a major French philosopher, influential especially in the first half of the 20th century. Bergson convinced many thinkers that the processes of immediate experience and intuition are more significant than abstract rationalism and science for understanding reality.
He was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented". In 1930, France awarded him its highest honour, the Grand-Croix de la Legion d'honneur.
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Table of Contents

Chapter I The Comic in General—The Comic Element in Forms and Movements—Expansive Force of the Comic
Chapter II The Comic Element in Situations and the Comic Element in Words
Chapter III The Comic in Character

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