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Essay on Comedy
Comic Spirit George Meredith

Page 1 of 86

 

This etext was prepared from the 1897 Archibald Constable and Company
edition by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk 

ON THE IDEA OF COMEDY AND OF THE USES OF THE COMIC SPIRIT {1} 

Good Comedies are such rare productions, that notwithstanding the
wealth of our literature in the Comic element, it would not occupy
us long to run over the English list.  If they are brought to the
test I shall propose, very reputable Comedies will be found unworthy
of their station, like the ladies of Arthur's Court when they were
reduced to the ordeal of the mantle. 

There are plain reasons why the Comic poet is not a frequent
apparition; and why the great Comic poet remains without a fellow.
A society of cultivated men and women is required, wherein ideas are
current and the perceptions quick, that he may be supplied with
matter and an audience.  The semi-barbarism of merely giddy
communities, and feverish emotional periods, repel him; and also a

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