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Kharkiv National University named after V.N Karazin, Ukraine
Different approaches to the difference between the category of comic and the concept “what makes people laugh” are considered in this article. The work presents аtheoretical analysis of the category of comic.
Keywords: A. Zis, B. Dzemidok, В. Zawadzki, comic, concept “what makes people laugh”, Trzynadlowski.
The category of comic plays a great role among various logical, philosophical and aesthetic categories. It is overlooked by philosophers, philologists and literature workers for a long time. Obviously, that the phenomenon of comic is a complicated and interesting item. Till nowadays scientists try to solve the puzzle of “comic” and build up a theoretical explanation of it.
The concept lies in the same area with concepts “homo sapiens” or “sociable animal”, so in order to understand what a person is we have to find out where the nature of laugh is situated. As far as we know cold mind, seriousness and rationality without humour show only the part of truth, while the category of comic opens the other side of truth, a hidden one which is neglected most of the time. So gravity and laugh are two components of the truthful notion of the world. In this article we are going to describe the most common characteristics of the category of comic and its functions.
The notion of comic is one of the most difficult and variable categories of aesthetic. The Polish scientists B. Dzemidok implies that this category consists of natural events which happen without anybody’s intention, relationships which appear between objects of natural events and a special kind of artistic creative work, the sense of it is an acknowledged construction of a system of phenomena and words in order to cause the effect of comic. Moreover, the notion of comic is connected with experiences.
The most common and visible display of the effect of comic is laugh. Laugh can be caused not only by comic situations (as a manifestation of physiological processes, good mood, excellent health or pleasure), so it is not enough to define comic experiences from the line of other experiences.
It is needed to separate laugh as a physiological phenomenon from the aesthetic one, which we are interested in. So nowadays linguists try to differ two items: “comic” and “things that make us laugh”.
G. Gegel and V.G. Belinskiy suppose that “comic” is a partial component of “what makes us laugh” which can be considered as an honorable form of it. The follower of Gegel’ and Belinskiy’s theory is the Soviet literature worker Y. Borev who dedicated a lot of his works to the concept of comic. In his opinion “comic” is represented as “a beautiful sister of things that make us laugh”[3, p.28]. Y. Borev develops his ideas and explains that “comic” is a socially-colored and socially-important laugh. It is important to mention that Y. Borev’s wording is obscure because it does not unite all situations that can cause laugh, so Y. Borev adds to his formulation simple forms of comic which represent the golden middle between “comic” and “what makes us laugh”.
A similar point of view was observed by the other Soviet linguist A. Zis who was completely sure that “comic always makes us laugh” but he admitted “what makes us laugh is comic only when it has aesthetic sense, showing the inner nature of the described occurrence”[1, p.144]. The idea is that comic changes into “what makes us laugh” when laugh does not help to show the main idea of the work and distracts from the aim of the comedy. B. Dzemidock agrees that in this way A. Zis has united into a separate category – farce, clownery (e.g. Oleg Popov was not comic, he only made people laugh), comicelement in operas and vaudevilles – things that have lost their social meaning.
The contrast to Y. Borev and A. Zis’ ideas serves M. Kagan’s theory that “comic” is not always “what makes us laugh”[2, p.200-201]. Examples which demonstrate the correctness the highly-described point of view are pamphlets by M. Gorkiy, rhymes by V. Mayakovskiy where satire(a comic form) provokes anger, disgust and fury.
The popular work by psychologist В. Z a w a d z k i “The category of comic. Psychological research” represents the idea that “what makes us laugh” is an integral feature of the objects which cause the comic effect, so the category of comic is a psychological act, an answer to the performed situation .
Scientist T r z y n a d l o w s k i develops the psychological theory making more precise: the concept of comic is a feature of reality’s display and a person understands it from his/her point of view – subjectively- as humor .
The other outstanding idea about difference between “comic” and “what makes us laugh” is displayed by Ceizing and Т. P e i p e г, they assume art as the major differentiator. The category of comic lies in the field of art and outside art – “everything that causes laugh”. The same point of view is discussed by E. Obuen who is sure that every person can make others laugh while to be comic is special art and science.
So nowadays it is difficult to differ the category of comic from “what makes us laugh”; the border between them is mostly invisible. Lissa, Kleiner, Kschiganovskiy, Vitvizkiy and others equal these two notions. In the everyday life we face the situation when something insensible and strange is called “what makes us laugh” and the very situation can be comic if it is considered in higher materias. For instance, “The most ridiculous thing that he has learnt to play the piano when he was seventy years old”.