Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of Comic

Front Cover
Wildside Press, 2008 - History - 96 pages
0 Reviews
What does laughter mean? 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.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2008)

Born in Paris in 1859 of Jewish parents, Henri Bergson received his education there and subsequently taught at Angers and Clermont-Ferraud before returning to Paris. He was appointed professor of philosophy at the College de France in 1900 and elected a member of the French Academy in 1914. Bergson developed his philosophy by stressing the biological and evolutionary elements involved in thinking, reasoning, and creating. He saw the vitalistic dimension of the human species as being of the greatest importance. Bergson's writings were acclaimed not only in France and throughout the learned world. In 1927 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. In defiance of the Nazis after their conquest of France, Bergson insisted on wearing a yellow star to show his solidarity with other French Jews. Shortly before his death in 1941, Bergson gave up all his positions and renounced his many honors in protest against the discrimination against Jews by the Nazis and the Vichy French regime.

Bibliographic information