An Essay on Comedy, and the Uses of the Comic Spirit

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A. Constable, 1905 - Comedy - 105 pages
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Page 90 - Spirit overhead will look humanely malign, and cast an oblique light on them, followed by volleys of silvery laughter. That is the Comic Spirit.
Page 82 - The satirist is a moral agent, often a social scavenger, working on a storage of bile. The ironist is one thing or another, according to his caprice. Irony is the humor of satire; it may be savage, as in Swift, with a moral object, or sedate, as in Gibbon, with a malicious. The foppish irony fretting to be seen, and the irony which leers, that you shall not mistake its intention, are failures...
Page 40 - To think of a whirlwind, though 'twere in a whirlwind, were a case of more steady contemplation, a very tranquillity of mind and mansion. A fellow that lives in a windmill has not a more whimsical dwelling than the heart of a man that is lodged in a woman.
Page 88 - One excellent test of the civilization of a country, as I have said, I take to be the flourishing of the comic idea and comedy; and the test of true comedy is that it shall awaken thoughtful laughter.
Page 62 - For Folly is the natural prey of the Comic, known to it in all her transformations, in every disguise; and it is with the springing delight of hawk over heron, hound after fox, that it gives her chase, never fretting, never tiring, sure of having her, allowing her no rest.
Page 28 - Comedy lifts women to a station offering them free play for their wit, as they usually show it, when they have it, on the side of sound sense. The higher the Comedy, the more prominent the part they enjoy in it.
Page 18 - It will at any rate hardly be questioned that it is unwholesome for men and women to see themselves as they are, if they are no better than they should be: and they will not, when they have improved in manners, care much to see themselves as they once were.
Page 40 - Here she comes, i'faith, full sail, with her fan spread and her streamers out, and a shoal of fools for tenders ; ha, no, I cry her mercy ! Mrs.
Page 65 - They abound, and the organization directing their machinery to shoot them in the wake of the leading article and the popular sentiment is good. But the comic differs from them in addressing the wits for laughter; and the sluggish wits want some training to respond to it, whether in public life or private, and particularly when the feelings are excited. The sense of the comic is much blunted by habits of punning and of using humoristic phrase, the trick of employing Johnsonian polysyllables to treat...
Page 34 - His moral does not hang like a tail, or preach from one character incessantly cocking an eye at the audience, as in recent realistic French Plays, but is in the heart of his work, throbbing with every pulsation of an organic structure. If Life is likened to the comedy of Moliere, there is no scandal in the comparison.

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