Notes toward a Field Theory of Humor



Every theory both depends upon and attempts to explain a particular set of facts or observations. It seems fair, for example, to say that Hobbes considered a deformed person or someone slipping on a wet street as crucial for his theory of humor and that Bergson had something like a marionette or a jack-in-the-box in mind. Kant saw the unexpected denouement of a clever comic remark as crucial whereas Freud openly admitted that, for the case of sexual humor at least, he was thinking about a smutty joke told by men of breeding in the presence (either real or imagined) of a lady of breeding. Each theorist started from a different reference point and the specific nature of these starting points has served to provide each theory with its own unique orientation and assumptions.


Social Constraint Banana Peel Happy Face Training Series Taboo Topic 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1983

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