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Synopsis

Finally available, a high quality book of the original classic edition of Laughter - An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic.

This is a new and freshly published edition of this culturally important work by Henri Bergson, which is now, at last, again available to you.

Enjoy this classic work today. These selected paragraphs distill the contents and give you a quick look inside Laughter - An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic:

The objects around him, however, have all been tampered with by a mischievous wag, the result being that when he dips his pen into the inkstand he draws it out all covered with mud, when he fancies he is sitting down on a solid chair he finds himself sprawling on the floor, in a word his actions are all topsy-turvy or mere beating the air, while in every case the effect is invariably one of momentum.

...Let us try to picture to ourselves a certain inborn lack of elasticity of both senses and intelligence, which brings it to pass that we continue to see what is no longer visible, to hear what is no longer audible, to say what is no longer to the point: in short, to adapt ourselves to a past and therefore imaginary situation, when we ought to be shaping our conduct in accordance with the reality which is present.

...From the runner who falls to the simpleton who is hoaxed, from a state of being hoaxed to one of absentmindedness, from absentmindedness to wild enthusiasm, from wild enthusiasm to various distortions of character and will, we have followed the line of progress along which the comic becomes more and more deeply imbedded in the person, yet without ceasing, in its subtler manifestations, to recall to us some trace of what we noticed in its grosser forms, an effect of automatism and of inelasticity.

...In a word, if a circle be drawn round those actions and dispositions-implied in individual or social life-to which their natural consequences bring their own penalties, there remains outside this sphere of emotion and struggle-and within a neutral zone in which man simply exposes himself to mans curiosity-a certain rigidity of body, mind and character, that society would still like to get rid of in order to obtain from its members the greatest possible degree of elasticity and sociability.

...We will now endeavour to reconstruct the sequence of comic forms, taking up again the thread that leads from the horseplay of a clown up to the most refined effects of comedy, following this thread in its often unforeseen windings, halting at intervals to look around, and finally getting back, if possible, to the point at which the thread is dangling and where we shall perhaps find-since the comic oscillates between life and art-the general relation that art bears to life.

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