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Aristotelian Theory of Humor

  • By: Leon Golden
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

The only certain basis for developing an Aristotelian comic theory, given the fact that Aristotle did not devote a specific treatise to this topic, is to make use of evidence from indisputably authentic works of Aristotle that are relevant to this subject: the Poetics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics and Rhetoric. For this purpose the Poetics is of primary importance, because in the course of its argument, it makes specific reference to comedy and because Aristotle's influential theory of tragedy has at its core important general concepts that apply to comedy as well as tragedy. Key issues raised by Aristotle about tragedy continue to have a vital resonance in contemporary tragic theory and practice. Comic theory and practice has developed over time in a number of directions ...

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