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About: Comedy is a(n) research topic. Over the lifetime, 8400 publication(s) have been published within this topic receiving 67483 citation(s). The topic is also known as: humor.
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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: of all, there is a prodigious variety of genres, each of which branches out into a variety of media, as if all substances could be relied upon to accommodate man's stories. Among the vehicles of narrative are articulated language, whether oral or written, pictures, still or moving, gestures, and an ordered mixture of all those substances; narrative is present in myth, legend, fables, tales, short stories, epics, history, tragedy, drame [suspense drama], comedy, pantomime, paintings (in Santa Ursula by Carpaccio, for instance), stained-glass windows, movies, local news, conversation. Moreover, in this infinite variety of forms, it is present at all times, in all places, in all societies; indeed narrative starts with the very history of mankind; there is not, there has never been anywhere, any people without narrative; all classes, all human groups, have their stories, and very often those stories are enjoyed by men of different and even opposite cultural backgrounds: narrative remains largely unconcerned with good or bad literature. Like life itself, it is there, international, transhistorical, transcultural. Are we to infer from such universality that narrative is insignificant? Is it so common that we can say nothing about it, except for a modest description of a few highly particularized species, as literary history sometimes does? Indeed how are we to control such variety, how are we to justify our right to distinguish or recognize them? How can we tell the novel from the short story, the tale from the myth, suspense drama from tragedy (it has been done a thousand times) without reference to a common model? Any critical attempt to describe even the most specific, the most historically oriented narrative form implies such a model. It is, therefore, understandable that thinkers as early as Aristotle should have concerned themselves with the study of narrative forms, and not have abandoned all ambition to talk about them, giving

1,206 citations

01 Jul 1981
Abstract: From the Publisher: Computers have changed since 1981, when Tracy Kidder indelibly recorded the drama, comedy, and excitement of one company's efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market. What has changed little, however, is computer culture: the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the mystique of programmers, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations. By tracing computer culture to its roots, by exploring the "soul" of the "machine" that has revolutionized the world, Kidder succeeds as no other writer has done in capturing the essential spirit of the computer age.

637 citations

01 Jan 1988
Abstract: The author has been at the centre of a shift in literary interpretation towards a critical method that places cultural creation in historical context. This book exemplifies the method in an examination of how collective beliefs and experiences are shaped, transferred from one medium to another, concentrated in manageable form, and offered to the public on the stage. As well as providing a new way of understanding Shakespeare, the book is an original analysis of a cultural process. The first chapter introduces the methods and purposes of the new historicism, and later chapters consider the types of cultural negotiation that shape the four main genres of Shakespearean drama: history, comedy, tragedy and romance. Particular reference is made to "Henry IV", "Henry V", "Twelth Night", "King Lear" and "The Tempest", and the book includes analyses of such aspects of early modern culture as exorcism, cross-dressing, colonial propaganda and martial law codes.

585 citations

01 Jan 1900
Abstract: formula, this time a general and complete one, for every real and possible method of comedy. Life presents itself to us as evolution in time and complexity in space. Regarded in time, it is the continuous evolution of a being ever growing older; it never goes backwards and never repeats anything. Considered in space, it exhibits certain coexisting elements so closely interdependent, so exclusively made for one another, that not one of them could, at the same time, belong to two different organisms: each living being is a closed system of phenomena, incapable of interfering with other systems. A continual change of aspect, the irreversibility of the order of phenomena, the perfect individuality of a perfectly self-contained series: such, then, are the outward characteristics--whether real or apparent is of little moment--which distinguish the living from the merely mechanical. Let us take the counterpart of each of these: we shall obtain three processes which might be called REPETITION, INVERSION, and RECIPROCAL INTERFERENCE OF SERIES. Now, it is easy to see that these are also the methods of light comedy, and that no others are possible. As a matter of fact, we could discover them, as ingredients of varying importance, in the composition of all the scenes we have just been considering, and, a fortiori, in the children's games, the mechanism of which they reproduce. The requisite analysis would, however, delay us too long, and it is more profitable to study them in their purity by taking fresh examples. Nothing could be easier, for it is in their pure state that they are found both in classic comedy and in contemporary plays. 1. REPETITION.-Our present problem no longer deals, like the preceding one, with a word or a sentence repeated by an individual, but rather with a situation, that is, a combination of circumstances, which recurs several times in its original form and thus contrasts with the changing stream of life. Everyday experience supplies us with this type of the comic, though only in a rudimentary state. Thus, you meet a friend in the street whom you have not seen for an age; there is nothing comic in the situation. If, however, you meet, him again the same day, and then a third and a fourth time, you may laugh at the "coincidence." Now, picture to yourself a series of imaginary events which affords a tolerably fair illusion of life, and within this ever-moving series imagine one and the same scene reproduced either by the same characters or by different ones: again you will have a coincidence, though a far more extraordinary one. Such are the repetitions produced on the stage. They are the more laughable in proportion as the scene repeated is more complex and more naturally introduced--two conditions which seem mutually exclusive, and which the play-writer must be clever enough to reconcile. Contemporary light comedy employs this method in every shape and form. One of the best-known examples consists in bringing a group of characters, act after act, into the most varied surroundings, so as to reproduce, under ever fresh circumstances, one and the same series of incidents or accidents more or less symmetrically identical. In several of Moliere's plays we find one and the same arrangement of events repeated right through the comedy from beginning to end. Thus, the Ecole des femmes does nothing more than reproduce and repeat a single incident in three tempi: first tempo, Horace tells Arnolphe of the plan he has devised to deceive Agnes's guardian, who turns out to be Arnolphe himself; second tempo, Arnolphe thinks he has checkmated the move; third tempo, Agnes L A U G H T E R · H e n r i B e r g s o n p . 30a L A U G H T E R · H e n r i B e r g s o n p . 30b contrives that Horace gets all the benefit of Arnolphe's precautionary measures. There is the same symmetrical repetition in the Ecole des marts, in L'Etourdi, and above all in George Dandin, where the same effect in three tempi is again met with: first tempo, George Dandin discovers that his wife is unfaithful; second tempo, he summons his father-and mother-in-law to his assistance; third tempo, it is George Dandin himself, after all, who has to apologise. At times the same scene is reproduced with groups of different characters. Then it not infrequently happens that the first group consists of masters and the second of servants. The latter repeat in another key a scene already played by the former, though the rendering is naturally less refined. A part of the Depit amoureux is constructed on this plan, as is also Amphitryon. In an amusing little comedy of Benedix, Der Eigensinn, the order is inverted: we have the masters reproducing a scene of stubbornness in which their servants have set the example. But, quite irrespective of the characters who serve as pegs for the arrangement of symmetrical situations, there seems to be a wide gulf between classic comedy and the theatre of to-day. Both aim at introducing a certain mathematical order into events, while none the less maintaining their aspect of likelihood, that is to say, of life. But the means they employ are different. The majority of light comedies of our day seek to mesmerise directly the mind of the spectator. For, however extraordinary the coincidence, it becomes acceptable from the very fact that it is accepted; and we do accept it, if we have been gradually prepared for its reception. Such is often the procedure adopted by contemporary authors. In Moliere's plays, on the contrary, it is the moods of the persons on the stage, not of the audience, that make repetition seem natural. Each of the characters represents a certain force applied in a certain direction, and it is because these forces, constant in direction, necessarily combine together in the same way, that the same situation is reproduced. Thus interpreted, the comedy of situation is akin to the comedy of character. It deserves to be called classic, if classic art is indeed that which does not claim to derive from the effect more than it has put into the cause. 2. Inversion.--This second method has so much analogy with the first that we will merely define it without insisting on illustrations. Picture to yourself certain characters in a certain situation: if you reverse the situation and invert the roles, you obtain a comic scene. The double rescue scene in Le Voyage de M. Perrichon belongs to this class. [Footnote: Labiche, "Le Voyage de M. Perrichon."] There is no necessity, however, for both the identical scenes to be played before us. We may be shown only one, provided the other is really in our minds. Thus, we laugh at the prisoner at the bar lecturing the magistrate; at a child presuming to teach its parents; in a word, at everything that comes under the heading of "topsyturvydom." Not infrequently comedy sets before us a character who lays a trap in which he is the first to be caught. The plot of the villain who is the victim of his own villainy, or the cheat cheated, forms the stock-in-trade of a good many plays. We find this even in primitive farce. Lawyer Pathelin tells his client of a trick to outwit the magistrate; the client employs the self-same trick to avoid paying the lawyer. A termagant of a wife insists upon her husband doing all the housework; she has put down each separate item on a "rota." Now let her fall into a copper, her husband will refuse to drag her out, for "that is not down on his 'rota.'" In modern literature we meet with hundreds of variations on the theme of the robber robbed. In every case the root idea involves an inversion of roles, and a situation which recoils on the head of its author. L A U G H T E R · H e n r i B e r g s o n p . 31a L A U G H T E R · H e n r i B e r g s o n p . 31b Here we apparently find the confirmation of a law, some illustrations of which we have already pointed out. When a comic scene has been reproduced a number of times, it reaches the stage of being a classical type or model. It becomes amusing in itself, quite apart from the causes which render it amusing. Henceforth, new scenes, which are not comic de jure, may become amusing de facto, on account of their partial resemblance to this model. They call up in our mind a more or less confused image which we know to be comical. They range themselves in a category representing an officially recognised type of the comic. The scene of the "robber robbed" belongs to this class. It casts over a host of other scenes a reflection of the comic element it contains. In the end it renders comic any mishap that befalls one through one's own fault, no matter what the fault or mishap may be,--nay, an allusion to this mishap, a single word that recalls it, is sufficient. There would be nothing amusing in the saying, "It serves you right, George Dandin," were it not for the comic overtones that take up and reecho it. 3. We have dwelt at considerable length on repetition and inversion; we now come to the reciprocal interference [Footnote: The word "interference" has here the meaning given to it in Optics, where it indicates the partial superposition and neutralisation, by each other, of two series of light-waves.] of series. This is a comic effect, the precise formula of which is very difficult to disentangle, by reason of the extraordinary variety of forms in which it appears on the stage. Perhaps it might be defined as follows: A situation is invariably comic when it belongs simultaneously to two altogether independent series of events and is capable of being interpreted in two entirely different meanings at the same time. You will at once think of an equivocal situation. And the equivocal situation is indeed one which permits of two different meanings at the same time, the one merely plausible, which is put forward by the actors, the other a real one, which is given by the public. We see the real meaning of the situation, because care has been taken to show us every aspect of it; but each of the actors knows only one of these asp

465 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Geoffrey Baym1Institutions (1)
Abstract: The boundaries between news and entertainment, and between public affairs and pop culture, have become difficult if not impossible to discern. At the intersection of those borders sits The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, a hybrid blend of comedy, news, and political conversation that is difficult to pigeon hole. Although the program often is dismissed as being “fake” news, its significance for political communication may run much deeper. This study first locates The Daily Show within an emerging media environment defined by the forces of technological multiplication, economic consolidation, and discursive integration, a landscape in which “real” news is becoming increasingly harder to identify or define. It then offers an interpretive reading of the program that understands the show not as “fake news,” but as an experiment in journalism. It argues that the show uses techniques drawn from genres of news, comedy, and television talk to revive a journalism of critical inquiry and advance a model of deliberative...

422 citations

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