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An Essay on Comedy and the Uses of the Comic Spirit

Author : George Meredith
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Reproduction of the original.

George Meredith s Essay On Comedy and Other New Quarterly Magazine Publications

Author : George Meredith
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In this book, Meredith's prose is presented for the first time in a critical edition. Its goal is to present Meredith's words as he intended them to be read, without the errors of his publishers, and with a complete scholarly apparatus that allows readers to re-create the history of each work's transmission. Each text, originally published in the New Quarterly Magazine between 1877 and 1879, is accompanied by a textual history, a list of editorial emendations, a historical collation (showing how Meredith's texts changed over time), and additional lists and tables as determined by the special circumstances of each text.

Madness Masks and Laughter

Author : Rupert D. V. Glasgow
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"Madness, Masks, and Laughter: An Essay on Comedy is an exploration of narrative and dramatic comedy as a laughter-inducing phenomenon. The theatrical metaphors of mask, appearance, and illusion are used as structural linchpins in an attempt to categorize the many and extremely varied manifestations of comedy and to find out what they may have in common with one another. As this reliance on metaphor suggests, the purpose is less to produce The Truth about comedy than to look at how it is related to our understanding of the world and to ways of understanding our understanding. Previous theories of comedy or laughter (such as those advanced by Hobbes, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Bergson, Freud, and Bakhtin) as well as more general philosophical considerations are discussed insofar as they shed light on this approach. The limitations of the metaphors themselves mean that sight is never lost of the deep-seated ambiguity that has made laughter so notoriously difficult to pin down in the past." "The first half of the volume focuses in particular on traditional comic masks and the pleasures of repetition and recognition, on the comedy of imposture, disguise, and deception, on dramatic and verbal irony, on social and theatrical role-playing and the comic possibilities of plays-within-plays and "metatheatre," as well as on the cliches, puns, witticisms, and torrents of gibberish which betray that language itself may be understood as a sort of mask. The second half of the book moves to the other side of the footlights to show how the spectators themselves, identifying with the comic spectacle, may be induced to "drop" their own roles and postures, laughter here operating as something akin to a ventilatory release from the pressures of social or cognitive performance. Here the essay examines the subversive madness inherent in comedy, its displaced anti-authoritarianism, as well as the violence, sexuality, and bodily grotesqueness it may bring to light. The structural tensions in this broadly Hobbesian or Freudian model of a social mask concealing an anti-social self are reflected in comedy's own ambivalences, and emerge especially in the ambiguous concepts of madness and folly, which may be either celebrated as festive fun or derided as sinfulness. The study concludes by considering the ways in which nonsense and the grotesque may infringe our cognitive limitations, here extending the distinction between appearance and reality to a metaphysical level which is nonetheless prey to unresolvable ambiguities." "The scope of the comic material ranges over time from Aristophanes to Martin Amis, from Boccaccio, Chaucer, Rabelais, and Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde, Joe Orton, John Barth, and Philip Roth. Alongside mainly Old Greek, Italian, French, Irish, English, and American examples, a number of relatively little-known German plays (by Grabbe, Tieck, Buchner, and others) are also taken into consideration."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Comedy

Author : George Meredith
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"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.

Comedy

Author : Henri Bergson
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Henri Bergson — Laughter George Meredith — An Essay on Comedy Introduction & Appendix on The Meanings of Comedy by Wylie Sypher Laughter is a mystery—a mystery which defines man. Brought together in this volume are two classic studies of the nature of laughter and comedy. The great French philosopher Henri Bergson develops, in "Laughter," a profound psychological and philisophic theory of the main springs of comedy—a theory closely related to the doctrine of the élan vital. In his "Essay on Comedy," the English novelist George Meredith discusses the varieties of the comic experience and the social and moral function of comedy. Together these two major theories go far toward clarifying the mystery of laughter. Wylie Sypher, in his richly documented supplementary essay, places the views of Bergson and Meredith in a large context of speculation on the nature of comedy. The essay reviews important statements of such thinkers as Aristotle, Hobbes, Baudelaire, Freud, Cornford, and others. It serves to give further significance to Bergson and Meredith and to the meaning of comedy itself.

An Essay on Comedy and the Uses of the Comic Spirit

Author : George Meredith
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Laughter An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

Author : Henri Bergson
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What does laughter mean? What is the basal element in the laughable? What common ground can we find between the grimace of a merry-andrew, a play upon words, an equivocal situation in a burlesque and a scene of high comedy? What method of distillation will yield us invariably the same essence from which so many different products borrow either their obtrusive odour or their delicate perfume? The greatest of thinkers, from Aristotle downwards, have tackled this little problem, which has a knack of baffling every effort, of slipping away and escaping only to bob up again, a pert challenge flung at philosophic speculation. Our excuse for attacking the problem in our turn must lie in the fact that we shall not aim at imprisoning the comic spirit within a definition. We regard it, above all, as a living thing. However trivial it may be, we shall treat it with the respect due to life. We shall confine ourselves to watching it grow and expand. Passing by imperceptible gradations from one form to another, it will be seen to achieve the strangest metamorphoses. We shall disdain nothing we have seen. Maybe we may gain from this prolonged contact, for the matter of that, something more flexible than an abstract definition,-a practical, intimate acquaintance, such as springs from a long companionship.

Laughter

Author : Henri Bergson
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Bergson explores why people laugh and what laughter means. A classic statement of the principles of humor, it explores what it is in language that makes a joke funny.

An Essay on the Idea of Comedy and the Uses of the Comic Spirit A Critical Edition

Author : George Meredith
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The Comedy of Manners from Sheridan to Maugham

Author : Newell W. Sawyer
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Upper-class comedy—its rise, decline, and revival from The School for Scandal to the World War.