The Stability of Laughter: The Problem of Joy in Modernist Literature, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Stability of Laughter

The Problem of Joy in Modernist Literature, 1st Edition

By James Nikopoulos

Routledge

256 pages

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Hardback: 9780367138561
pub: 2018-12-11
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Description

A "sad and corrupt" age, a period of "crisis" and "upheaval"—what T.S. Eliot famously summed up as "the panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history." Modernism has always been characterized by its self-conscious sense of suffering. Why, then, was it so obsessed with laughter? From Baudelaire, Nietzsche, Bergson and Freud to Pirandello, Beckett, Hughes, Barnes, and Joyce, no moment in cultural history has written about laughter this much. James Nikopoulos investigates modernity’s paradoxical relationship with mirth. Why was the gesture we conventionally associate with happiness deemed the only sensible way of responding to a world, as Max Weber wrote, that had been "disenchanted of its gods?" In answering these questions, Nikopoulos also delves into our ongoing relationship with laughter. He looks to contemporary research in emotion and evolutionary theory, as well as to the two-thousand-plus-year history of the philosophy of humor, in order to propose a novel way of understanding laughter, humor, and their complicated relationships with modern life. The Stability of Laughter explores how art unsettles the simplifications we revert to in our attempts to make sense of human history and social interaction.

Table of Contents

Entry

About the Author

James Nikopoulos is Associate Professor at Nazarbayev University.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature

From Joyce to Rushdie, Modernism to Food Writing, Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Literature looks at both the literature and culture of the 20th century. This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering literature alongside religion, popular culture, race, gender, ecology, travel, class, space, and other subjects, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General