The Comic Sphere: Readings in Dickens, Joyce and Lerner
Wyman, Annie Julia
MetadataShow full item record
CitationWyman, Annie Julia. 2017. The Comic Sphere: Readings in Dickens, Joyce and Lerner. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractBy connecting prevailing theories of postmodernism to a synthetic, transhistorical conception of the comic, this dissertation argues that comedy has become western, postmodern culture’s dominant aesthetic mode. Precisely because the techniques of the comic have been hijacked for the ideological purposes of distraction and escapism, the dissertation proposes an idea it calls the comic sphere, which gathers together the positive aesthetic, historical and social functions — particularly the liberatory function — of comedy as well as its tropes. The idea of the comic sphere also encapsulates the connection of comic art to the making of art full stop — that is, to play and to poesis itself. The comic sphere names the fictional space of play in which comic art invites us to participate and out of which art comes. By placing three novels — one Victorian and historical (Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities), one a modernist classic (James Joyce’s Ulysses) and one a contemporary comic novel (Ben Lerner’s 10:04) — within the definition of the comic sphere, the dissertation argues for the importance of reading with and for comedy now.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41140223
- FAS Theses and Dissertations