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Distributed for Intellect Ltd

Historical Comedy on Screen

In 1893 Friedrich Engels branded history “the cruelest goddess of all.” This sorrowful vision of the past is deeply rooted in the Western imagination, and history is thus presented as a joyless playground of inevitability rather than a droll world of possibilities. There are few places this is more evident than in historical cinema which tends to portray the past in a somber manner. 

Historical Comedy on Screen
examines this tendency paying particular attention to the themes most difficult to laugh at and exploring the place where comical and historical storytelling intersect. The book emphasizes the many oft-overlooked comical renderings of history and asks what they have to tell us if we begin to take them seriously.

205 pages | 20 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2011

Film Studies

History: History of Technology

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: The Mad History of the World
      Hannu Salmi
Part I: Comedians and Comic Representations
Chapter 2: Buster Keaton’s Comedies of Southern History: Our Hospitality and The General
      Susan E. Linville
Chapter 3: Comedians and Romance: History and Humour in Kalabalik
      David Ludvigsson
Chapter 4: From Ideal Husbands to Berserk Gargoyles: A Survey of Period Comedies Representing the British Past in the 1950s and 1960s
      Harri Kilpi
Chapter 5: Forms of History in Woody Allen
      Maurice Yacowar
Part II: No Laughing Matter
Chapter 6: No Laughing Matter? Comedy and the Spanish Civil War in Cinema
      David Archibald
Chapter 7: A Killer Joke? World War II in Post-War British Television and Film Comedy
      Rami Mähkä
Chapter 8: ‘Holocaust-Nostalgia’, Humour and Irony: The Case of Pizza in Auschwitz
      Hagai Dagan
Chapter 9: Comedy and Counter-History
      Marcia Landy


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