This critical intervention in the study of the comic investigates how the comic act is also an expressive and performative act that precedes philosophical conceptualisation. The book puts Bergson, philosophy and the body at the centre of its investigation to explore different aspects of the field, from the history and philosophy of comedy to film and psychoanalysis. The volume develops a theoretical and practice-based framework that will be a valuable resource for students, scholars and practitioners alike in the fields of philosophy, literary studies, theatre and performance studies and comedy studies.
List of Contributors: Caterina Angela Agus, Fred Dalmasso, Lisabeth During, Xavier Escribano, Giovanni Fusetti, Davide Giovanzana, Josephine Gray, María J. Ortega Máñez, Meg Mumford, Jean-Michel Rabaté, Carolyn Shapiro, Lisa Trahair
Josephine Gray is co-artistic director of Iraqi Bodies, a theatre group based in Gothenburg, Sweden, dedicated to exploring the links between movement and gesture, dance and physical theatre. Her experimental practice is anchored in the theory and method of Artaud, Grotowski, Ionesco and Beckett, among others. She trained at the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris and studied philosophy at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and English literature at the University of Sheffield.
Lisa Trahair teaches in film studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia. She is author of The Comedy of Philosophy: Sense and Nonsense in Early Cinematic Slapstick. She has published widely on film comedy and on the philosophy of comedy in journals devoted to film and the theoretical humanities and has co-edited several special issues of journals on the intersection of film and philosophy.
Chapter 1. Comedy: Towards an Alternative History of Mimesis, by María J. Ortega Máñez
Chapter 2. The Two Laughters of Lecoq: The Clown and the Bouffon, by Caterina Angela Agus, Giovani Fusetti and Davide Giovanzana
Chapter 3. The Masked Comic Figure in Alain Badiou’s Philosophy, by Fred Dalmasso
Chapter 4. The Body that Laughs and Cries: Helmuth Plessner’s Keys to Anthropology and Theatre, by Xavier Escribano
Chapter 5. Valentin, Brecht and Comic Inelasticity: Ridiculing Rigidity as an Impediment to Social Change, by Meg Mumford
Chapter 6. Happiness, Dead and Alive: Object Theatre as Philosophy of the Encounter, by Carolyn Shapiro
Chapter 7. Living in the Doll House: Cavell, Comedy and The Ladies Man, by Lisa Trahair
Chapter 8. Trouble in Paradise?: Impotence and Comedy, by Lisabeth During
Chapter 9. “Only What Is Born Lives”: Kafka L.O.L., by Jean-Michel Rabaté
Chapter 10. The Grotesque: Comic Performance and the Paradox of Acting, by Josephine Gray
About the Authors
This fascinating collection of essays reveals that the comic is not funny. It’s about things close to the tragic, the grotesque, impotence, and crying—all the things that make up what we call our world. Ultimately, it’s appropriate that there is such close etymological affinity between kosmos and komodia.
This important collection brings together a transdisciplinary group of scholars to explore the comic and comedy in relation to philosophy. A ground-breaking series of essays invite us to take ‘the comic very seriously’, while also offering a varied range of perspectives on topics drawn from theatre, performance, film, and literature.