Monday 21 July 2014

ENGL31252 LOL: The Serious Business of Comedy in Fiction, Theatre, and Film

LOL: The Serious Business of Comedy in Fiction, Theatre, and Film (ENGL 31252) Semester 2, 2014-15


Course description

In this interdisciplinary course, we will examine how British and American novelists, playwrights and filmmakers have turned to comedy and humour from the eighteenth century to the present day.  Charting a range of literary and cultural representations, we will explore the political, social and ideological uses of a range of comedic expressions—such as the joke, black comedy, satire, camp humour, the lampoon, sitcom, screwball comedy, and romcom—in relation to issues of love, marriage, sex, sexuality, gender, the sexed body, race, nation, ethnicity, age, class, and city vs. country.


Preparatory Reading List (with recommended editions)

John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera and Polly, ed. Hal Gladfelder (Oxford World’s Classics edition, ISBN 978-0199642229)

Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer (Dover Thrift edition, ISBN 978-0486268675)

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, ed. Michael Patrick Gillespie (Norton Critical edition, ISBN 978-0393927535)

E. F. Benson, Queen Lucia, in The Complete Mapp and Lucia, volume 1 (Wordsworth Classics edition, ISBN 978-1840226737)

Caryl Churchill, Cloud 9 (available online:


Fay Weldon, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (Sceptre edition, ISBN 978-0340589359)

Simon Critchley, On Humour (Routledge, ISBN 978-0415251211)



Sam Jones  English Literature, American Studies and Creative Writing Programmes Administrator| 

The School of Arts, Languages & Cultures l  Room W113 Samuel Alexander Building |The University of Manchester |Oxford Road Manchester, M13 9PL |  Tel. +44 (0) 161 275 8590|

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Tuesday                 8.00-4.00

Wednesday          1.30-5


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