Machine-Age Comedy by Michael North

By Michael North

During this most up-to-date addition to Oxford's Modernist Literature & tradition sequence, popular modernist pupil Michael North poses primary questions about the connection among modernity and comedian shape in movie, animation, the visible arts, and literature. Machine-Age Comedy vividly constructs a cultural historical past that spans the complete 20th century, displaying how adjustments wrought through industrialization have endlessly altered the comedian mode. With willing analyses, North examines the paintings of quite a lot of artists--including Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Marcel Duchamp, Samuel Beckett, and David Foster Wallace--to exhibit the inventive and unconventional methods the routinization of commercial society has been explored in a large array of cultural kinds. all through, North argues that sleek writers and artists chanced on anything inherently comedian in new stories of repetition linked to, enforced via, and made inevitable by means of the computer age. finally, this wealthy, tightly centred research deals a brand new lens for realizing the devlopment of comedic constructions during times of huge social, political, and cultural swap to bare how the unique promise of recent existence might be extracted from its useful unhappiness.

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Vertov, for his part, had been interested in sound recording even before becoming interested in film, and he planned Man with the Movie Camera so that it would frequently suggest a sound track. His next film, Enthusiasm, is considered, at least by friendly film scholars, “the masterwork that initiated the sound era . . ”28 Neither man was intimidated by the mechanisms of sound recording or by the artistic challenge of incorporating sound into their films. If their careers start to slide at this particular moment, then, it may be because of other changes, of which sound is only an incidental part.

But the comic attitude exemplified by this costume is hardly a simple one, since the “cubist” is obviously being mocked for two completely different reasons, on the one hand because he is excessively rational and on the other because he is absolutely crazy. Wielding a set of calipers as he does makes the “cubist” seem a kind of engineer, and in this he illustrates a common charge of the time, that cubism had made art into a matter of mere mechanics. But the patchwork of the harlequin costume and the wild eyes and hair also suggest that the “cubist” is quite loony, which is an equally faithful representation of a very different popular reaction to the new art.

Film comedy had actually been trying to outgrow the simple physical humor of slapstick almost from the moment the first pie was thrown. The earliest comic films were, in form and content, powerful examples of the New Humor, which was denounced from magazine pulpits across the nation as anarchic, spasmodic, crude, and heartless. Forced to make their point within a minute or two, these movies necessarily depended on gags and not on plot development or character analysis. In their purest form, they were simply practical jokes recorded on film.

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