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Comedy: A Critical Introduction

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Herewith an original approach to the study of comedy. While assimilating theoretical insights from Aristotle to the present day, it contests, inter alia, the theory of comedys ritual origin; challenges the age-old and continuing attempts to determine the structure of action that characterizes comedy; and suggests instead that structures of action are shared by all genres, and that it is the specific mood that accounts for their differences. Mood is a prism through which a playwright wishes the spectator to perceive a fictional world. Comedy is characterized by its lighthearted mood, which generates a specific kind of laughter. If mood determines the genre of a fictional world, in contrast to current theory, comedy, satiric drama and grotesque drama are different genres promoting different moods and aiming at different effects. Each genre should thus be read and experienced according to its inherent rules and not in terms of a theory that lumps these genres together. … The book discusses the pivotal role of commedia dellarte in both reflecting comedys classical tradition and influencing subsequent developments, especially in comedys style of acting; it explores the relations between comedy and carnival and between comedy and joke-telling; probes the view that comedy is characterized by a unique vision; and examines comedy in different media – such as cinema, comics, puppet theatre, radio drama and TV drama. Eli Rozik questions the traditional semiotic view that all meaning is in the text, and suggests that, in generating comedic meaning, the spectators contribution/reaction is no less vital than that of the text itself. Major contributions to a general theory of comedy, and to a sound methodology for the analysis of comedies, are presented, and ample reference to comedies and/or pertinent analyses of such comedies, written over the course of 2,500 years of theatre recorded history, is provided to enable readers to grasp ideas in their original terminology and logic. Each presentation is accompanied by critical comments which attempt both to introduce the problems involved and suggest possible solutions.

Book News Annotation:

An emeritus scholar of theater, Rozik introduces a theory of comedy that, while focusing on theater in English, is applicable in any language or medium. It is structured to be used as a textbook in an undergraduate course. He draws on broad reading and analysis of actual performance texts to support his critical views of theories ranging from Aristotle to the present. His topics include comic laughter, laughter-eliciting devices, Commedia dell'Arte, comedy and joke-telling, and the reception of comedy. Distributed in the US by ISBS. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

While assimilating theoretical insights from Aristotle to the present day, the wholly original approach to the study of comedy contests the theory of comedys ritual origin; challenges the age-old and continuing attempts to determine the structure of action that characterizes comedy; and suggests instead that structures of action are shared by all genres, and that it is the specific mood that accounts for their differences. Author Eli Rozik questions the traditional semiotic view that all meaning is in the text, and suggests that, in generating comedic meaning, the spectators contribution and reaction is no less vital than that of the text itself. Major contributions to a general theory of comedy, and to a sound methodology for the analysis of comedies, are presented, and ample reference to comedies and pertinent analyses of such comedies, written over the course of 2,500 years of theatre recorded history, is provided to enable readers to grasp ideas in their original terminology and logic. Each presentation is accompanied by critical comments that attempt both to introduce the problems involved and suggest possible solutions.

About the Author

Eli Rozik is Ph.D. and professor emeritus of theatre studies. He was twice head of the Department of Theatre Studies and Dean of the Faculty of the Arts at Tel Aviv University. He specializes in theatre theory, particularly in non-verbal communication in performance analysis; and has published numerous articles in international leading journals in Europe and the US. His books include The Language of Theatre (1992), The Roots of Theatre – Rethinking Ritual and Other Theories of Origin (2002), Metaphoric Thinking (2008), Generating Theatre Meaning (2008) and most recently Fictional Thinking (2009).

Product Details

ISBN:
9781845194772
Author:
Rozik, Eli
Publisher:
Sussex Academic Press
Subject:
Reference/Writing
Subject:
General Drama
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20111231
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
264
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Acting
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Comedy Business and Criticism
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Writing » General

Comedy: A Critical Introduction New Hardcover
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Product details 264 pages Sussex Academic Press - English 9781845194772 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

While assimilating theoretical insights from Aristotle to the present day, the wholly original approach to the study of comedy contests the theory of comedys ritual origin; challenges the age-old and continuing attempts to determine the structure of action that characterizes comedy; and suggests instead that structures of action are shared by all genres, and that it is the specific mood that accounts for their differences. Author Eli Rozik questions the traditional semiotic view that all meaning is in the text, and suggests that, in generating comedic meaning, the spectators contribution and reaction is no less vital than that of the text itself. Major contributions to a general theory of comedy, and to a sound methodology for the analysis of comedies, are presented, and ample reference to comedies and pertinent analyses of such comedies, written over the course of 2,500 years of theatre recorded history, is provided to enable readers to grasp ideas in their original terminology and logic. Each presentation is accompanied by critical comments that attempt both to introduce the problems involved and suggest possible solutions.

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