The Idea of Comedy: History, Theory, Critique

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Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 2006 - 287 Seiten
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One of the few constants in Western critical though for over twomillennia has been the inexhaustible fascination with comedy: what itis and how it works. Yet comedy has eluded every definition. Why haveso many of the leading critics and philosophers of the West proposedtheories and counter-theories of comedy while often admitting that itenthralls and baffles the mind in equal measure? The Idea of Comedy: A Critique assembles a rich corpus of materials from differentlanguages and eras to construct a history of the commentaries andreflections, the theoretical postulates and conjectures, and the oftenacrimonious debates about comedy through the centuries from Platoand Aristotle to our contemporaries

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Inhalt

From Classical to Modern The Arc from Ethical to Social Conceptions
23
The Classical Attitude
24
The Renaissance Attitude and After
31
Early Modernist Theory
42
Theory and Resistance
55
The Dominant Modernist Conception of Comedy Premises and Elisions
64
Modernist Residua of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
66
The Dominant Satiric NeoAristotelian View
83
The Medieval Fool Tradition
150
Fooling Theory
162
The Interlude of Postmodernist Conceptions
173
Late Century Overview
174
The Ludic Terrain of Postmodern Theory
193
Comedy in Contemporary Thought
205
The Butts of Reason
217
The Return of Systems and Aesthetics
232

The Legacy of the Dominant Through 2000
98
The Late Modernist Conception of Comedy Premises and Elisions
109
The Emergent Populist Theory
110
The Comic Hero and Modernist Legacies
120
Twin Modernist Elisions
143
The Contemporary Idea of Comedy
247
The Idea of Comedy
253
Comedy as an Idea
259
Reference List
267
Index
279

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Seite 90 - What normally happens is that a young man wants a young woman, that his desire is resisted by some opposition, usually paternal, and that near the end of the play some twist in the plot enables the hero to have his will.
Seite 67 - Sudden glory' is the passion which maketh those 'grimaces' called 'laughter'; and is caused either by some sudden act of their own that pleaseth them, or by the apprehension of some deformed thing in another by comparison whereof they suddenly applaud themselves.
Seite 43 - ... the ideal of a spirit who plays naively — that is, not deliberately but from overflowing power and abundance — with all that was hitherto called holy, good, untouchable, divine; for whom those supreme things that the people naturally accept as their value standards, signify danger, decay, debasement, or at least recreation, blindness, and temporary self-oblivion; the ideal of a human, superhuman well-being and benevolence4 that will often appear inhuman — for example, when it confronts...
Seite 71 - Laughter arises from the view of two or more inconsistent, unsuitable or incongruous parts or circumstances, considered as united in one complex object or assemblage...
Seite 157 - For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
Seite 157 - Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.
Seite 189 - Something has changed, and the Faustian, Promethean (perhaps Oedipal) period of production and consumption gives way to the "proteinic" era of networks, to the narcissistic and protean era of connections, contact, contiguity, feedback and generalized interface that goes with the universe of communication.
Seite 49 - All that is serious in life comes from our freedom. The feelings we have matured, the passions we have brooded over, the actions we have weighed, decided upon and carried through, in short, all that comes from us and is our very own, these are the things that give life its ofttimes dramatic and generally grave aspect.
Seite 188 - Like surveillance and with it, normalization becomes one of the great instruments of power at the end of the classical age. For the marks that once indicated status, privilege, and affiliation were increasingly replaced — or at least supplemented — by a whole range of degrees of normality...
Seite 92 - Comedy grows out of the same ritual, for in the ritual the tragic story has a comic sequel. Divine men do not die: they die and rise again. The ritual pattern behind the catharsis of comedy is the resurrection that follows the death, the epiphany or manifestation of the risen hero.

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