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Laughing AwryPlautus and Tragicomedy$
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Erik Gunderson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198729303

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198729303.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

I Clowns

I Clowns

(p.1) 1 I Clowns
Laughing Awry

Erik Gunderson

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the difficulty of approaching comedy. It opens with a reading of Fellini’s I Clowns as a theoretical and practical model for making such an approach. One needs to get past functionalists’ descriptions of comedy: ‘X was said because X is funny.’ Reading comedy is difficult, because scholars are reluctant to consider their own complicity with the mechanism humour. An outline of Lacan’s ‘four discourses’ helps to explicate the intersection between subjective orientations and hermeneutic commitments.

Keywords:   Federico Fellini, Jacques Lacan, jokes, scholarship, clowns

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