"On Humour is a book on what humour can tell us about being human. Simon Critchley skilfully probes some of the most perennial but least understood aspects of humour: why is it that we mock death with laughter? Why are so many comedians depressives? If humour is uniquely human, then why do we spend so much time laughing at animals? If we laugh with the body, then do we also laugh at the body? Is humour revolutionary or does it simply reinforce the status quo? What is going on in racist and sexist humour? Is joking a private matter or is humour something essentially shared and social?" "From antiquity to modernity, and drawing on work from a vast range of authors, in particular Swift, Sterne, Shaftesbury, Bergson, Beckett and Freud, On Humour turns the comical inside out to reveal some delectable insights about what we find funny. Above all, Critchley reveals that the humanity of humour is in being able to laugh at oneself, in finding oneself ridiculous. Humour is the great anti-depressant that does not lead one to escape reality but to face up to it more intensely, but not without a certain lightness." On Humour will interest readers in a range of disciplines, in philosophy, theology, literature, psychoanalysis, history and anthropology. It will also intrigue anyone with a sense of humour, which hopefully is all of us.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781135199036
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/30/2002
  • Series: Thinking in Action Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eTextbook
  • Pages: 144
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Simon Critchley is Professor of Philosophy and Director for the Centre of Theoretical Studies at the University of Essex. He is the author of Ethics-Politics-Subjectivity (1999) and Very LittleAlmost Nothing (Routledge, 1997). His most recent book is Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (2001).

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Is humour human?
3. Laughing at your body- post-colonial theory
4. The laughing machine- a note on Bergson and Wyndham Lewis
5. Foreigners are funny- the ethicity and ethnicity of humour
6. The joke's on all of us- Humour as sensus communis
7. Why the super-ego is your amigo- My sense of humour and Freud's


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