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Essay on Comedy Comic Spirit - George Meredith

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ON THE IDEA OF COMEDY AND OF THE USES OF THE COMIC SPIRIT {1}

Good Comedies are such rare productions, that notwithstanding the
wealth of our literature in the Comic element, it would not occupy
us long to run over the English list.  If they are brought to the
test I shall propose, very reputable Comedies will be found unworthy
of their station, like the ladies of Arthur's Court when they were
reduced to the ordeal of the mantle.

There are plain reasons why the Comic poet is not a frequent
apparition; and why the great Comic poet remains without a fellow.
A society of cultivated men and women is required, wherein ideas are
current and the perceptions quick, that he may be supplied with
matter and an audience.  The semi-barbarism of merely giddy
communities, and feverish emotional periods, repel him; and also a
state of marked social inequality of the sexes; nor can he whose
business is to address the mind be understood where there is not a
moderate degree of intellectual activity.

Moreover, to touch and kindle the mind through laughter, demands
more than sprightliness, a most subtle delicacy.  That must be a
natal gift in the Comic poet.  The substance he deals with will show
him a startling exhibition of the dyer's hand, if he is without it.
People are ready to surrender themselves to witty thumps on the
back, breast, and sides; all except the head:  and it is there that
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