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Engl3700: Restoration and 18th-Century literature, February 12.docx

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ENGL 3700
Heather Ladd

February 12, 2014 Marriage a la mode: • Every character is playing their own games: to win their mistresses and keep their wives • Breaking of the fourth wall creates a lot of humor Preface to an evening’s love: • Theory about comedy: based on Dryden’s own practice, o development of comedy: language is improved/elegant, refinement of the courtship, o Ideas about comedy: comedy is inferior. Taking aim at low comedy (farce, slapstick, characters who are lowborn, disgusted by popular applause (snobbish) he has descend from comedy to farce.)  530: distinguishes between farce and comedy. Comedy: understanding and judgment. Farce: just needs to be entertained, over the top, exaggerated characters. Blames the French for the bedroom farce and for moral corruption. Audiences enjoy the farces. Ideal is a balance between wit and character: • Comedy of wit: more about dialogue, wit is the soul of conversation. Moliere. Intellectual • Comedy of humor: idea of the humors (medical ideas: if the humors were imbalanced you were sick. 4 humors: Blood, yellow bile, black bile, phlegm) Shakespeare and Johnson were writing, characters imitating their follies because of their follies (angry jealous men). Example Hamlet (too much black bile: melancholy) Emphasis on characterization o Law of comedy: mix delight and instruction. The law is: Good must end well and bad must end poorly. But Dryden doesn’t
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