Bergson's boffo laughter
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Beginning with an imagined encounter between Buster Keaton and Henri Bergson, this article offers a fundamental rereading of Bergson's Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (1900) and its theoretical, historical, and formal links to slapstick cinema. It focuses on neglected references by Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, and James Agee to a sympathetic, schizophrenic, and "boffo" laughter viscerally connecting audiences to slapstick's absurdly vitalized machines and acrobatic automatons. It argues for a more dialectical relationship between terms often opposed in Bergsonian accounts of both slapstick comedy and cinematic apperception, including vitality and mechanism, laughing and comical bodies, and cold pragmatism and sensorial sympathy.
Flaig , P 2021 , ' Bergson's boffo laughter ' , Journal of Cinema and Media Studies , vol. 60 , no. 2 , pp. 4-31 . https://doi.org/10.1353/cj.2021.0001
Journal of Cinema and Media Studies
Copyright © 2021 Paul Flaig and Society for Cinema and Media Studies. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1353/cj.2021.0001
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