Download PDF by Henri Bergson: Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

By Henri Bergson

ISBN-10: 0486443809

ISBN-13: 9780486443805

During this nice philosophical essay, Henri Bergson explores why humans chortle and what laughter capability. Written on the flip of the 20th century, Laughter explores what it really is in language that makes a shaggy dog story humorous and what it truly is in us that makes us laugh.

One of the features of humor, based on Bergson, is to assist us hold our humanity in the course of an age of mechanization. Like different philosophers, novelists, poets, and humorists of his period, Bergson was once occupied with the duality of guy and computing device. His trust in existence as an essential impulse, indefinable by way of cause on my own, informs his conception of comedy because the reduction we event upon distancing ourselves from the mechanistic and materialistic. "A scenario is usually comic," Bergson notes, "if it participates concurrently in sequence of occasions that are totally self reliant of one another, and if it may be interpreted in particularly diverse meanings." The philosopher's thought-provoking insights (e.g., "It turns out that laughter wishes an echo. Our laughter is usually the laughter of a group.") preserve this paintings ever-relevant as a thesis at the rules of humor.

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Extra info for Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

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This anarchic dimension involved an unsettling of social conventions through cross-dressing and gags that lacked the restrained decorum concerning sexuality, fetishism, “perversion” (including cannibalism), bureaucracy, family, work, and animality. A quarter of a century later, though some of the topical allusions may be lost, the sharp Predecessors to the carnivalesque dimensions of the Flying Circus can be found in British film comedy. For example, the Carry On films, produced from the late 1950s to the 1970s, offered a ribald, earthy form of humor and identified with a repertory group of actors (Charles Hawtry, Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams, Sid James, and Hattie Jacques) who tackled in satiric and slapstick fashion revered British institutions—the army, the medical profession, classical history, patriotism, leisure life, and sports.

No sooner does he leave and the sketch resumes than he appears again to complain of a changed caption. After portraying the forcible removal of a man with a space suit who is obviously out of place, the sketch is again interrupted by an abrupt cut to Karl Marx embracing Che Guevara. The return to the “Communist Situating Comedy Quiz” sketch is an instance of the hybrid, nonlinear, and unpredictable character of the shows, disrupting expectations of narrative continuity, underscoring the arbitrariness of narration, and highlighting the irreverent treatment of cultural icons by situating them incongruously within a game show context rather than in a news format.

Rather, the animation functions to highlight the atemporal and hallucinatory character of the Flying Circus world. The emphasis on sadistic acts by cartoon figures through images of dismemberment, decapitation, cannibalism, explosions, and various forms of physical mutilation are an invitation to contemplate a world that contradicts altruistic and benign conceptions of behavior. The fanciful animation, like the appealing images of each of the Pythons, allows entry into a world of unreason where time and space are disordered, as in the case of “The Wacky Queen” sketch that combines photographic cutouts and speeded-up motion as if a silent film has been shown at the wrong speed.

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Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic by Henri Bergson


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