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English Comedy
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  • 6 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 340 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.507 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521032902)

Why does comedy matter? Is it celebratory or subversive? What makes it flourish, and which creative forces resist it? English Comedy addresses these and related questions by invoking a variety of works from Aristophanes to Walt Disney, while focusing on the traditions of comic writing in England. Poetry, the novel and (above all) drama are examined to assess the constrictions and liberations of genre, the negotiations or divergences between comic practice and theory, and the dynamics of theatrical language. Ranging from medieval and Renaissance drama through Romantic poetry to twentieth-century literature and philosophy, English Comedy makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the heritage of comic writing.

• These essays are written by a combination of well-known names and younger scholars • Ranges over a number of literary periods • Brings together questions of theory and (especially theatrical) practice


List of illustrations; Notes on contributors; 1. Introduction Michael Cordner, Peter Holland and John Kerrigan; 2. Crab's pedigree Richard Beadle; 3. The comedian as the character C Stephen Orgel; 4. Mixed verse and prose in Shakespearean comedy Jonas Barish; 5. Much Ado About Nothing: the unsociable comedy Barbara Everett; 6. Laughter, forgetting and Shakespeare Adrian Poole; 7. Enigmatic Ben Jonson John Creaser; 8. A New Way to Pay Old Debts: Massinger's grim comedy Martin Butler; 9. 'Thou teachest me humanitie': Thomas Heywood's The English Traveller Richard Rowland; 10. Etherege's She Would If She Could: comedy, complaisance and anti-climax Michael Cordner; 11. Rhyming as comedy: body, ghost and banquet Gillian Beer; 12. Wordsworthian comedy Jonathan Wordsworth; 13. Apeing romanticism Jonathan Bate; 14. A complete history of comic noses John Kerrigan; 15. Noël Coward and comic geometry Peter Holland; 16. Ludwig Wittgenstein and the comedy of errors Eric Griffiths; Index.


Michael Cordner, Peter Holland, John Kerrigan, Richard Beadle, Stephen Orgel, Jonas Barish, Barbara Everett, Adrian Poole, John Creaser, Martin Butler, Richard Rowland, Gillian Beer, Jonathan Wordsworth, Jonathan Bate, Eric Griffiths

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