Comedy and the Public Sphere
The Rebirth of Theatre as Comedy and the Genealogy of the Modern Public Arena
Routledge – 2013 – 358 pages
The book aims at reframing the discussion on the "public sphere," usually understood as the place where the public opinion is formed, through rational discussion. The aim of this book is to give an account of this rationality, and its serious shortcomings, examining the role of the media and the confusing of public roles and personal identity. It focuses in particular on the role of the theatrical and comical in the historical development of the public sphere, and in this manner reformulating definitions of common sense, personal identity, and culture.
Introduction Part 1: The Public Sphere as a Theatrical Arena of Mocking Contest: Comedy, Mask, Laughter 1. The Public and Its Masks: Permanent Hyper-Critique and Hypocritical Performance 2. Nietzsche’s Intuitions: From Theatre Through Humanist Philology to Richard Wagner, or the Genealogy of the Modern World As Stage 3. Ridiculing as Public Weapon Part 2: The Rebirth of Theatre as Comedy out of the Spirit of the Byzantium 4. The Byzantine Spirit and Its Sources 5. Transmitting, Receiving and Nurturing the Byzantine Spirit 6. The Rise of Theatre in Venice Part 3: The Effect Mechanism of Commedia dell’Arte: Visions and Realities of Commedification 7. Commedia dell’Arte: Schismogenic Sub-Plots and Irresistible Stock-Types 8. Shakespeare: The Tragedy of World History Being a Comedy 9. Representing Representation: Visionary Images of Commedia dell’Arte Part 4: The Rebirth of Commedia dell’Arte as the Avant-garde 10. The Rebirth of Pierrot as Suffering Victim 11. Obsessed with Paris and Public Fame: Richard Wagner, the Mimomaniac Revolutionary 12. Pierrot and Pulcinella in Between Paris and Petersburg: The Avant-Garde of Diaghilev and Meyerhold. Conclusion.
Arpad Szakolczai is Professor of Sociology at University College Cork, Ireland.