Bergson's Theory of the Comic

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 ...

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