Playboys and Killjoys: An Essay on the Theory and Practice of Comedy

Paperback | June 1, 1991

byHarry Levin

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Harry Levin--one of America's major literary critics--offers a brilliant and original study of the whole world of comedy, concentrating on playwrights through the centuries, from Aristophanes and Plautus in classical times to Bernard Shaw and Bertolt Brecht and their recent successors. Viewing the comic repertory as a richly varied yet broadly unified whole, Levin provides a synthesis of theories and practice. Isolating two fundamental aspects of comedy--the ludicrous and irreverent "playboy," whom we laugh with, and the ridiculous and forbidding "killjoy," whom we laughat--he traces the dialectical interplay of these components throughout history and across various cultures and media. While mainly focusing on the plays and the stage, with discussions of such major dramatists as Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Moliere, and William Congreve, Levin also includes essays onsuch related topics as humor, satire, and games.

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From Our Editors

Harry Levin--one of America's major literary critics--offers a brilliant and original study of the whole world of comedy, concentrating on playwrights through the centuries, from Aristophanes and Plautus in classical times to Bernard Shaw and Bertolt Brecht and their successors.

From the Publisher

Harry Levin--one of America's major literary critics--offers a brilliant and original study of the whole world of comedy, concentrating on playwrights through the centuries, from Aristophanes and Plautus in classical times to Bernard Shaw and Bertolt Brecht and their recent successors. Viewing the comic repertory as a richl...

From the Jacket

Harry Levin--one of America's major literary critics--offers a brilliant and original study of the whole world of comedy, concentrating on playwrights through the centuries, from Aristophanes and Plautus in classical times to Bernard Shaw and Bertolt Brecht and their successors.

Harry Levin is Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Harvard University and author of The Gates of Horn: A Study of Five French Realists, The Question of Hamlet, and Shakespeare and the Revolution of the Times.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.51 inPublished:June 1, 1991Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195048776

ISBN - 13:9780195048773

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From Our Editors

Harry Levin--one of America's major literary critics--offers a brilliant and original study of the whole world of comedy, concentrating on playwrights through the centuries, from Aristophanes and Plautus in classical times to Bernard Shaw and Bertolt Brecht and their successors.

Editorial Reviews

"This superb study of comedy as a dramatic art form touches on virtually every point of departure--history, ethos, plotting, characterization, atmosphere."--Library Journal