• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Bergson's Theory of the Comic

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

Henri Bergson's theory of the comic, set out in Le Rire (Laughter, 1899–1900) and other texts, has not been highly regarded in humor scholarship and is often misinterpreted as either a theory about incongruity or about superiority. It is however an important contribution to the understanding of comic mechanisms and in particular stage comedy. To understand it correctly, it needs to be seen in the context of his life, work, and historical circumstances. Although chiefly known as a French philosopher, Henri-Louis Bergson (1859–1941) was the 1927 Nobel laureate in literature. He also played a major role between 1921 and 1926 as a cultural diplomat for the League of Nations, forerunner to the United Nations. Despite his strenuous efforts to coordinate the League's new Commission for ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles