Playboys and Killjoys: An Essay on the Theory and Practice of Comedy

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Oxford University Press, Sep 8, 1988 - Performing Arts - 214 pages
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Harry Levin--one of America's major literary critics--offers a brilliant and original study of the whole world of comedy, concentrating on playwrights through the centuries, from Aristophanes and Plautus in classical times to Bernard Shaw and Bertolt Brecht and their recent successors. Viewing the comic repertory as a richly varied yet broadly unified whole, Levin provides a synthesis of theories and practice. Isolating two fundamental aspects of comedy--the ludicrous and irreverent "playboy," whom we laugh with, and the ridiculous and forbidding "killjoy," whom we laugh at--he traces the dialectical interplay of these components throughout history and across various cultures and media. While mainly focusing on the plays and the stage, with discussions of such major dramatists as Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Moli?re, and William Congreve, Levin also includes essays on such related topics as humor, satire, and games.
 

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About the author (1988)

Harry Levin is Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Harvard University and author of The Gates of Horn: A Study of Five French Realists, The Question of Hamlet, and Shakespeare and the Revolution of the Times.

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