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Laughter - An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   93
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.23"
Weight:   0.33 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2008
Publisher   Arc Manor
ISBN  1604501065  
EAN  9781604501063  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
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Buy Laughter - An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic by Henri Bergson & Cloudesley Brereton from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781604501063 & 1604501065

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More About Henri Bergson & Cloudesley Brereton

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bergson won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1927.

Henri Louis Bergson was born in 1859 and died in 1941.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Early, provocative, but slight work on the subject.  Feb 1, 2007
One of the more accessible books by an underrated philosopher whose usefulness, especially with regard to literary narrative, is being rediscovered, "Laughter" must qualify as one of Bergson's slighter works. Much of its importance stems from its place among the very first essays to take seriously an elusive and slippery subject. As a result, the author's thesis that laughter derives from "the mechanical encrusted upon the living" is at once somewhat dated and limiting. A reader wishes more distinctions between "comedy" and "laughter" (since many of the most revered comedies, from Shakespeare to Keaton, no longer provoke laughter from their modern audiences). Moreover, the author's thesis, though consistent with his views of "real time" (la duree), is applied too broadly to illuminate the dark let alone grey areas of "black comedy" along with numerous sub-genres, ranging from witty and garrulous, so-called "screw-ball comedy" to parody and the mock-heroic (both of the latter presenting major obstacles to appreciation let alone laughter because of what the post-modernists call "cultural amnesia").

Nevertheless, it's a readable start.
Admirable  Dec 20, 2005
The blessed healing of laughter and of those who are gifted in bringing it to us. A great read for anyone who wants to live and look at the lighter side of life.
A bit dated. Somewhat incomplete. Astoundingly insightful  May 10, 2005
Before reading this essay, you should be forewarned that it was written by the same great opponent of Cartesian dualism that resisted the reduction of psychological phenomena to physical states. In other words, this is an early 20th century French philosophical essay. To go further, it's a bit dry. Still, it is hard to argue with many of the axioms that Bergson espouses in this essay. For the most part, the laughter caused by much of modern comedy can be explained using one of his primary axioms or their many corollaries. Bergson's biggest miss here, however, is that although he adequately explains why a comic may cause an individual to laugh at either the comic himself or a third party, he doesn't sufficiently explain, or even realize, that much of what the comic intends is for his audience to laugh at themselves. Even so, you can still ascribe Bergson's incisive deductions to include the comic audience and still come to the heart of why people laugh. In any event, to my knowledge the subject has never been tackled so logically. Certainly, no (funny) comedian will ever attempt to publicly disclose the nature of laughter, but don't suppose that there aren't many famous comedians out there today who are familiar with this essay. It is obvious that many comedians and writers are familiar with this essay and that they have put these axioms directly to the test to great comic effect on many occasions. A word of advice to anyone who has difficulty wading through the chapters of Bergson's dry, recondite language: Read it in your head with the voice of baby Stewie from the Family Guy in mind. This technique amused me through the first half of the book, and by that time the language didn't bother me so much anymore.
Still profound after all these years  Mar 24, 2003
Why is a pun amusing? In brief, it treats something human as if it were something mechanical. Language is a way of conveying meanings from one human to another, and the most inflexible, most mechanical, most artifiial POSSIBLE way of looking at words is to classify them by their sound alone. That's precisely what a pun does.

When Mel Brooks is playing a Polish actor playing Hitler, he says: "All I want is peace. A little piece of Poland, a tiny piece of France...." That is amusing -- the juxtaposition of the vital and the mechanical.

More sophisticated jokes than such puns are based on the same juxtaposition. Here is one of Bergson's example, from a play by Labiche. "Just as M. Perrichon is getting into the railway carriage, he makes certain of not forgetting any of his parcels: 'Four, five, six, my wife seven, my daughter eight, and myself nine.'"

first since Aristoteles  Nov 26, 2001
Bergson is the second philosopher who consider laughter and try to find out the reasons why we laugh. Aristoteles did also this in his book about comedy, but here we have a more modern view on it. I recommend this to all who are interested in why and from what we laugh.

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