Thursday, December 20, 2007

seriousness + laughter

"for rabelais, man of the renaissance, laughter was precisely a liberation of the emotions that dim the knowledge of life. laughter proves the existence of clear spiritual vision + bestows it. awareness of the comic + reason are the two attributes of human nature. truth reveals itself with a smile when man abides in a nonanxious, joyful, comic mood."
--l.e. pinsky, realism of the renaissance, 1961 (qtd, in bakhtin)

"true ambivalent + universal laughter does not deny seriousness but purifies + completes it. laughter purifies from dogmatism, from the intolerant + the petrified; it liberates from fanaticism + pedantry, from fear + intimidation, from didacticism, naivete + illusion, from the single meaning, the single level, from sentimentality. laughter does not permit seriousness to atrophy + to be torn away from the one being, forever incomplete. it restores this ambivalent wholeness. such is the function of laughter in the historical development of culture + literature."
--mikhail bakhtin, rabelais + his world, 1965

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