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By W. Demastes

Comedy concerns strains the lengthy culture of the expansive comedian include of cultural distinction and variety that manages to outlive even in a few of mankind s darkest moments. Demastes argues that comedy has a hard-nosed, pragmatic measurement that may be mobilized opposed to belligerent cultural forces. Drawing from the works of Shakespeare, Stoppard, and several comedian masters, Comedy issues demonstrates how comedy maintains to paintings opposed to cultural regimentation by way of striving to re-calibrate our decision-making procedures and difficult the stultifying stress of human financial system within the broadest experience of the time period.

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Extra info for Comedy Matters: From Shakespeare to Stoppard

Sample text

Thus we have become powerful, self-absorbed, and estranged from the Earth” (105). The problem with Meeker’s observation—a fairly common one—stems mostly from a belief that tragedy tries to demonstrate the empowering opposite of what comedy does. He misses the point that although tragedy may try to argue that suffering heroically and tragically ennobles, it also suggests that wrong-headed idealism may not be worth pursuing. Tragedy may attempt to demonstrate that we can rise above nature and control our destinies, but does tragedy ever succeed at demonstrating our success at such endeavors?

But recall that the great comic artist Aristophanes lived in a Greece that was devastated by the Peloponnesian War, complete with a devastating plague thrown in for good measure. Shakespeare’s England was in a constant state of war and readiness, was regularly visited by plague itself, and famously experienced regular internal strife. And Moliere’s world was no less secure and comfortable than either of the above. But although comedy clearly did not transform these worlds in any obvious manner, it may be that these worlds would have been much worse off without comedy around to catalyze changes not directly attributed to or immediately felt by comedy’s presence.

But implicitly following a tradition inaugurated by Émile Durkheim (in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life [1912])4, Baudrillard suggests that we not abandon the simulacra in favor of ideal forms; rather, we should search for distinctions between what he calls “authentic” and “inauthentic” simulacra5 as we search for a way to reclaim a certain “enchanted simulation”6 that could reveal and On the Razor’s Edge O 45 reclaim a “charmed universe”7 that seems otherwise available only in the fanciful and elusive world of ideal forms.

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