An Outline of Humor: Being a True Chronicle from Prehistoric Ages to the Twentieth Century

An Outline of Humor: Being a True Chronicle from Prehistoric Ages to the Twentieth Century

An Outline of Humor: Being a True Chronicle from Prehistoric Ages to the Twentieth Century

An Outline of Humor: Being a True Chronicle from Prehistoric Ages to the Twentieth Century

Excerpt

Speaking exactly, an Outline of the World's Humor is an impossibility.

For surely the adjectives most applicable to humor are elusive, evasive, evanescent, ephemeral, intangible, imponderable, and other terms expressing unavailability.

To outline such a thing is like trying to trap a sunbeam or bound an ocean.

Yet an Outline of the History of the World's recorded humor as evolved by the Human Race, seems within the possibilities.

First of all, it must be understood that the term humor is here used in its broadest, most comprehensive sense. Including both wit and humor; including the comic, fun, mirth, laughter, gayety, repartee,--all types and classes of jests and jokes.

The earliest reference to this mental element is that of Aristotle, and the word he uses to represent it is translated the Ridiculous.

His definition states that the Ridiculous is that which is in itself incongruous, without involving the notion of danger or pai

Coleridge thus refers to Aristotle's definition:

"Where the laughable is its own end, and neither inference nor moral is intended, or where at least the writer would wish it so to appear, there arises what we call drollery. The pure, unmixed, ludicrous or laughable belongs exclusively to the understanding, and must be presented under the form of the senses; it lies within the spheres of the eye and the ear, and hence is allied to the fancy. It does not appertain to the . . .

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