This Honors course will examine the comedic tradition from ancient Greece to the present day. Beginning with Greek and Shakespearean classics, we will progress through works set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Along the way, we’ll meet lovers and fighters, singletons and smug marrieds, and teachers and students. Among the issues we will explore: How does the notion of what is considered humorous change over such a time period? How critical is setting? What roles do irony and satire play? What are the various social functions of this literary genre?
You will write two critical essays and take a final examination. In addition to the essays and exam, you will also be responsible for an oral presentation.