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Jun. 15th, 2011

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The Ones That Got Away


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1000 novels everyone must read: Comedy (Part IV)


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1000 novels everyone must read: Comedy (Part III)


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1000 novels everyone must read: Comedy (Part II)

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1000 novels everyone must read: Comedy (Part I)

Comedy: Introduction

    Comedy is not humour. You shouldn't expect to be laughing all the way through these novels. Sometimes you will be, but at other times you will be crying. Every comic, it is said, wants to play Hamlet, and many comic novelists — Evelyn Waugh, archetypally — have a serious purpose. The world's hypocrisies and deceptions are targets that must be attacked, comedy the literary weapon of choice. The greatest comic novels — Don Quixote, Tristram Shandy, Oblomov, Bouvard et Pécuchet, Dead Souls, A Handful of Dust, Pnin — demonstrate that the comic mode can sustain the very greatest writing. Comic writing can be a brutal, unforgiving business, yet it can produce great and multi-layered prose, combining comedy, pathos and satire. When Tony Last is lost in the jungle at the end of A Handful of Dust, faced with a lifetime of reading Dickens to the mad Mr Todd, should we laugh or cry at such an ending (an ending that Waugh's US publisher deemed too unsettling for an American audience)? One thing is certain — we will never forget it.

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1000 novels everyone must read: Family & Self (Part III)

 

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1000 novels everyone must read: Family & Self (Part II)


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1000 novels everyone must read: Family & Self (Part I)

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1000 novels everyone must read: Crime (Part II)

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1000 novels everyone must read: Crime (part one)

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