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Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic
Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic
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Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

Henri Bergson
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Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

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.

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Publisher
Books on Demand
Year
2019
ISBN
9783749469291
Topic
Philosophy
Subtopic
Philosophy History & Theory
Edition
1

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