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Comedy High and Low

An Introduction to the Experience of Comedy

Maurice Charney

In this broad-ranging exploration of the nature of comedy Professor Charney considers its popular roots as well as the major issues in comic theory. Comedy High and Low seeks to bridge the gap between comic literature, especially stage comedy, and the popular comedy of jokes, graffiti, and comic happenings of everyday life. With examples taken mainly from major figures of stage comedy from Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Jonson, the Restoration dramatists, and Molière to Beckett, Pinter, Dürrenmatt, Stoppard, and Orton, it brings a historical perspective to the subject, and also includes many allusions to the great film comedies of Keaton, Chaplin, Fields, and the Marx Brothers. An extensive critical bibliography supplements this provocative and highly readable book.