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This unique anthology presents the most important historical essays on comedy, ranging from antiquity to the present, divided into historical periods and arranged chronologically. Across its span it traces the development of comic theory, highlighting the relationships between comedy, politics, economics, philosophy, religion, and other arts and genres. Students of literature and theatre will find this collection an invaluable and accessible guide to writing from Plato and Aristotle through to the 21st century, in which special attention has been paid to the 20th century with a strong representation of over 20 extracts from leading authors.
Reader in Comedy is arranged in five sections, each featuring an introduction providing concise and informed historical and theoretical frameworks for the texts:
* Antiquity and the Middle Ages* Renaissance* Restoration to Romanticism* Victorian Era* Twentieth Century to Present
Among the many authors included are: Plato, Aristotle, Horace, Donatus, Dante Alighieri, Erasmus, Trissino, Sir Thomas Elyot, Thomas Wilson, Sir Philip Sidney, Ben Johnson, Battista Guarani, Moliere, William Congreve, John Dryden, Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, Jean Jacque Rousseau, Oliver Goldsmith, Jean Paul Richter, William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, Søren Kierkegaard, Charles Baudelaire, Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Henri Bergson, Constance Rourke, Bertolt Brecht, Northrop Frye, Jacques Derrida, Mikhail Bakhtin, Milan Kundera, Umberto Eco, Georges Bataille, Simon Critchley and Michael North.