The art and craft of letters Comedy (1900) PDF book by John Palmer

The art and craft of letters  (1900) PDF book by John Palmer - writing comedy 

The art and craft of letters Comedy

The curse of Babel only fell among men when they learned to laugh. Laughter is the real frontier between races and kinds of people. We are agreed, the world over, as to what precisely is grievous. Babel has made little difference between the weeping of an Englishman (he weeps more commonly than is reputed) and the weeping of a Patagonian. Laughter is another matter. A joke sets all nations by the ears. We laugh in different languages. The Frenchman violently explodes into laughter at something which leaves the Prussian cold as a stone. An English- man sees very little fun in Alceste. A French- man sees in Falstaff no more than a needlessly fat man. 

Try to be funny in a foreign land, and you will probably only succeed in insulting or disgusting or annoying or shocking somebody. A joke cannot be translated or interpreted. A man is born to see a particular sort of joke, or he is not. You cannot educate him into seeing it. In the kingdoms of comedy, there are no papers of naturalization. : Here we measure the chief difficulty of the writer who sets out to define, to describe, to limit, or to classify the functions of comedy. How shall we play the interpreter between Dogberry and Tartuffe, between Mirabel and Peisthetairus, between Bob Acres and the Hon? John Worthing? How shall we affirm, passing from Moore to Fletcher, from Aristophanes to Congreve, from Chapman to Terence, that these men were all writers of comedy: that comedy is a fixed form of art to be recognized, defined and separated from all other forms? 


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