“Comedy Three Ways”
Hosted by the Department of Philosophy
Abstract: Comedy raised a deep question for renaissance literary theory. Working with an idiom derived from Aristotle, Horace, and Aelius Donatus, humanists of the sixteenth century were caught between two imperatives: (1) that comedy, like tragedy, should represent an action whose cause is intelligible, and (2) that comedy, unlike tragedy, should represent characters who are ordinary or inferior to the audience. But (2) requires that the characters’ action is irrational and therefore unintelligible, or potentially so, which threatens to violate (1). In a word: the plot both needs to make sense and to revel in senselessness. How can the circle be squared?
Full schedule, Philosophy Colloquia
For inquiries contact Sue McKinney.