Greek Laughter: A Study of Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity by Stephen HalliwellGreek Laughter: A Study of Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity by Stephen Halliwell

Greek Laughter: A Study of Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity

byStephen Halliwell

Paperback | November 3, 2008

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The first book to offer an integrated reading of ancient Greek attitudes to laughter. Taking material from various genres and contexts, the book analyses both the theory and the practice of laughter as a revealing expression of Greek values and mentalities. Greek society developed distinctive institutions for the celebration of laughter as a capacity which could bridge the gap between humans and gods; but it also feared laughter for its power to expose individuals and groups to shame and even violence. Caught between ideas of pleasure and pain, friendship and enmity, laughter became a theme of recurrent interest in various contexts. Employing a sophisticated model of cultural history, Stephen Halliwell traces elaborations of the theme in a series of important texts: ranging far beyond modern accounts of 'humour', he shows how perceptions of laughter helped to shape Greek conceptions of the body, the mind and the meaning of life.
Title:Greek Laughter: A Study of Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early ChristianityFormat:PaperbackDimensions:632 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 1.38 inPublished:November 3, 2008Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521717744

ISBN - 13:9780521717748

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Inside and outside morality: the laughter of Homeric gods and men; 3. Sympotic elation and resistance to death; 4. Ritual laughter and the renewal of life; 5. Aischrology, shame and Old Comedy; 6. Greek philosophy and the ethics of ridicule; 7. Greek laughter and the problem of the absurd; 8. The intermittencies of laughter in Menander's social world; 9. Lucian and the laughter of life and death; 10. Laughter denied, laughter deferred: the antigelastic tendencies of early Christianity; Appendix 1. The Greek (body) language of laughter and smiles; Appendix 2. Gelastic faces in visual art.

Editorial Reviews

"...a book of great originality as well as immense range... it is remarkable how a chronological treatment also has a compelling thematic momentum: this is an exhilarating read." --The Anglo-Hellenic Review