CLST 019. First-Year Seminar: The Birth of Comedy

This course investigates the origins of comedy and satire in classical antiquity. In addition to plays by Aristophanes, Plautus, and Terence, and satirical poetry by Archilochus, Hipponax, Horace, and Juvenal, we will also explore the very idea of the "origins of comedy" from diverse perspectives. Questions about what motivates satirists to attack the behavior of their contemporaries and speculation about the quasi-religious roots of mockery have been fertile and contested areas of inquiry for centuries. We will read numerous thinkers (ancient and modern) who have proposed theories of the origins of comedy, including Aristotle, Freud, Bakhtin, Bergson, and Francis Cornford. And we will also encounter more recent comedians' reflections on their own birth and origins, including performers such as Richard Pryor, Howard Stern, Tina Fey, Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, and Lenny Bruce.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2023. Lefkowitz.
Catalog chapter: Classics  
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