(NEMLA 2017) Dramatic Humor in Renaissance Popular Culture

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2017 Panel -- Nicole Sheriko (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
contact email: 

NeMLA Annual Convention 2017 -- Baltimore, MD (March 22-26)

This panel will explore the diverse kinds of humor on the Renaissance stage and how they shed light on the larger landscape of popular entertainment culture. Dramatic characters and Renaissance writers alike often wield humor as a tool for moral judgement or aesthetic critique, but plays also seem to revel in and capitalize on the sheer pleasure afforded by the laughter they provoke. We ask how humor’s ability to function as a formal, interactive, affective, and epistemological mode can offer new critical frameworks for bringing together language and performance, performers and audiences, as well as cultural and formalist analyses. Current discussions of dramatic humor rely heavily on Bakhtin’s notion of festive carnival or attempt to affix genres like comedy, tragicomedy, and satire to explain how humor fits into drama. By framing the discussion around humor, we aim to re-think and move beyond generic categories and distinctions between classical and contemporary festive uses of humor. What is the precise role of humor on the stage and in the popular entertainment culture surrounding it? How do the influences of continental traditions, medieval inheritances, and contemporary non-dramatic sources like jest books and clowning impact Renaissance forms of humor? How do Renaissance audiences understand the value of humor and how do these attitudes shape the critical tradition of interpreting humor? How do early literary critics like Ben Jonson theorize humor in their own work and the work of others? To what extent can humor function as a critical tool for audiences on stage and off? Papers addressing these concerns through Renaissance dramatic texts and performances and especially non-Shakespearean authors—Jonson, Middleton, Dekker, Greene, and others—are welcome.

Submit abstracts by: September 30, 2016

Submit abstracts via the NeMLA portal: http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/submit.html

Link to CFP: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/cfp