The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 9, No 4 (2021)

Both artistic and comic: the status and significance of humour in the context of Louis Cazamian’s writings

Miloš Ševčík


This study examines Louis Cazamian’s considerations on the nature of humour, which were influenced by Bergson’s theory of the comic as a contrast between life and automatism and Bergson’s idea of humour as a specific type of comic linguistic transposition. In this context, the paper draws attention to the critical function of humour in Cazamian’s understanding based on his embracing of Bergson’s conception of laughter as a critique of the automation of life. However, Cazamian’s speculating diverges from Bergson’s thoughts on humour and leads to the creation of an elaborated theory. Cazamian states that humour has an artistic status and attributes characteristics to it that Bergson attributes to works of art. In contrast to Bergson, who emphasises the distinction between art and the comic, Cazamian deems humour’s critical aspect to accord with its artistic status. While humour is attributed artistic status because it suggests the multifaceted or elusive character of reality, humour’s comic character entails ridiculing the inability or unwillingness to respect that reality has a comic character.


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