Reader in Comedy: An Anthology of Theory and Criticism

Author, Researcher, or Creator

Magda Romanska


Performing Arts


Magda Romanska and Alan Ackerman (Editors)

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Publication, Publisher or Distributor


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Related Information

Review from Amazon.com “Editors Magda Romanska and Alan Ackerman open their book by admitting the difficulty of their tasks: to historicize a genre so diverse in form and style and to define a genre (and its many subgenres) that itself resists definition. Rising to the challenge, the editors of Reader in Comedy: An Anthology of Theory and Criticism have created a temporally expansive analysis of western comic theory. Romanska and Ackerman’s collection of theoretical texts tells a story of how comedy and comic theory reflect and influence theatrical and performance conventions, social structures, technology, philosophy, and civic life. It is a substantial anthology that interweaves performance studies, drama, literature, and critical theory. Romanska and Ackerman have curated a collection that charts continuity in comic theory without diluting historical specificities. Each introduction to the chapters succinctly contextualizes the comic theory of its time and also links the annotated texts to previous chapters. Consequently, I would recommend this text for a survey course on comedy and comic theory in the United States and Europe, or to any scholar seeking a broad overview of writings on comedy.” – Modern Drama

Brief Description

Romanska and Ackerman serves as editors in this unique anthology of historical essays on comedy. This book is arranged chronologically and provides a selection of over seventy of the most important historical essays on comedy that range from antiquity to the present. Focus is drawn upon the development of comic theory as it highlights the relationship between comedy, politics, economics, philosophy, religion, arts, and other genres. This serves as an accessible guide to students of literature and theatre. This book showcases authors such as in Plato, Aristotle, Dante Alighieri, Molière, Mark Twain, Constance Rourke, and Michael North. This book brings together diverse theories of comedy throughout the ages and highlights how comedy is able to speak to the most pragmatic aspects of human life.

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