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76-227 Comedy

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Gen Ed: fulfills DCR4 We cant, or course, expect to come up with an absolutely complete definition of the comic, but for our purposes we can consider it as an embodiment of the opposite of gravity. Comedy is characterized by its levity. This does not mean, of course, that it is any less serious than tragedy, even if or especially because it tends to favor the superficial over the profound. Indeed, if tragedy is adolescent, then the mature, adult mode is the comic, being more social and rational. A key characteristic of comedy is wit or simply intelligence. Comedy involves a lot of pure play of the mind. It turns out that there have been a few notable attempts to help us understand just why comedy is the social genre beyond all others, why the comic attitude is the civilized, urbane, mature view of life. And well consider some of those theories while trying to understand why some things are comic and some are not. Well consider the following texts, and some representative funny movies: Aristophanes, Lysistrata; Shakespeare, As you Like It ; Congreve, Way of the World; Voltaire, Candide; Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Samuel Beckett, Endgame; Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One; Joseph Heller, Catch-22; Wylie Sypher, ed., Comedy.

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Rank for this semester:#106
Rank in this department:#4

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  Spring 2005 times

Sec Time Day Instructor Location  
A 1:30 - 2:50 pm T Kennedy BH 255A Add course to my schedule
R Kennedy BH 255A

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