Reminiscences, Addresses, and Essays

Reminiscences, Addresses, and Essays

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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1881 edition. Excerpt: ...none that offers difficulties so great, as that of laughing and the ridiculous. You will find that we feel tempted to smile, sometimes, even when our soul is filled with horror. There is always something risible in the Blue Beards, and, strange to say, the highest degree of horror frequently causes physical convulsive laughter.' We ought, then, to take care not to be betrayed into an act so little understood, when done at the cost of another, who may feel pained or humbled by our inadvertence. We may further say that everything novel, which does not at once strike us as grand, sublime, or awful, inclines us first of all to smile. The advanced state of my address prevents me from giving you instances. You can easily, however, provide them for yourselves. But, if the fact is as I have stated, you will readily see that the smiling, caused by everything novel, betrays as often our own ignorance as a fair cause of risibility. You ought, moreover, to remember that every human action perceptible by the senses, and which strikes us at all, causes us to laugh, if we are unacquainted with its antecedents, or if we see it out of connection, unless an expe 1 We are here reminded even of the sardonic smile. Laughter, so distinguishing a feature of man, and so closely interwoven with literature, with civilization, and with ethnography, for some races are more cachinnatory than others--the negroes and Indians occupying apparently the two ends of the scale--laughter, I say, seems nevertheless unexplained, even more so than disgust, that "mystic union between imagination and the stomach." I know of no profound physiology of laughter, not even of a sound Chapter on this remarkable subject. Von. I.--18 rienced mind and vivid more

Product details

  • Paperback | 180 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 10mm | 331g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236768515
  • 9781236768513