1 - 10 of 12 articles
Modern artists have long been fascinated with the pantomime, circus, and other comic entertainments, and since the late 19th century, many modernists have made use of the figure of the clown in advancing their avant-garde agendas. Turvey calls this strain within modernism “comedic modernism,” by...
Scrutinizing the writings by Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, and Theodor W. Adorno and connecting them to specific comedy scenes and tropes, this essay explores the fascination for American slapstick comedies and comedians by the philosophers of the Frankfurt School. Although often critical...
This essay examines Guy Debord's and André Bazin's opposing approaches to Charlie Chaplin—both the man and his cinematic image—in the early 1950s. Jennifer Wild focuses on the notorious “Chaplin affair” of 1952, which gave rise to the International Lettriste and its eponymous journal. Looking...
Yvonne Rainer offers a witty and timely meditation on forms of humor—horrifying, puzzling, peculiar, droll—elicited by our current political moment, while reminiscing about comedy in performances at the Judson Church and elsewhere in the 1960s.
Yve-Alain Bois introduces three historical texts—Heinrich von Kleist's “Primer of French Journalism” (1821), Bertolt Brecht's “On Restoring the Truth” (1934), and Alexandre Koyré's “The Political Function of the Modern Lie” (1943)—that address the age-old but still urgent question of how to...
Written in 1809 in response to Napoleon's war propaganda and published posthumously, Heinrich von Kleist's satirical “Primer of French Journalism” ( Lehrbuch der französischen Journalistik ) appropriates the form of the instruction manual to expose the process by which fake news is manufactured...
In his December 1934 text, Bertolt Brecht pairs the verbatim report of Nazi speeches with what he calls “the restoration of the truth,” a word-by-word decoding of the original that reveals its true meaning. Truth, Brecht argues, can only be approached through a meticulous unmasking of propaganda...
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