John T. Harwood's Critics, Values, and Restoration Comedy PDF

By John T. Harwood

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They are gross not because sexual themes are so abundant but because the plays evince a sterile and platitudinous interest in sex: the dominant conventions are that "constancy in love, especially in marriage, is a bore"; appetite "needs perpetually fresh stimulation"; and the chase is all (pp. 12, 13). The Restoration audience demanded only that comedies be titillating, and however satisfactory the plays seemed to their cretinous audiences, Knights finds them a bore. Knights relegates the moral issue to a minor position without ever dealing with it directly while ostensibly employing what he calls a "free and critical approach" (p.

No plays with a traditional (or Christian) bias could survive on the stage, for the rakish lords and raffish orange girls would halt their groping in the pit or gallery just long enough to bury the playwright and cast with rotten vegetables and choruses of catcalls. The comic drama, after all, was written by, for, and about libertines. Anthony Hamilton's The Memoirs of Count Grammont and Pepys's Diary are presumptive evidence of a "sick" culture; the plays themselves confirm the diagnosis which many distinguished critics have agreed upon.

These writings also enable one to comprehend more quickly G. "9 And one Page 15 can understand why Fujimura regards Freud's Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious as a restatement of Aristotle's Tractatus coislinianus and then argues that "wit" comedy provides a purgative experience both moral and salubrious. "There is pleasure in skeptical, malicious, and sexual wit because our repressed tendencies are satisfied by the short cut provided by wit; and such relief from restraint is conducive to mental health.

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