READER IN COMEDY: AN ANTHOLOGY OF THEORY AND CRITICISM
Ed. with Alan Ackerman, Bloomsburry Publishing, 2016
This unique anthology presents a selection of over seventy of the most important historical essays on comedy, ranging from antiquity to the present, divided into historical periods and arranged chronologically. Across its span it traces the development of comic theory, highlighting the relationships between comedy, politics, economics, philosophy, religion, and other arts and genres. Students of literature and theatre will find this collection an invaluable and accessible guide to writing from Plato and Aristotle through to the twenty-first century, in which special attention has been paid to writings since the start of the twentieth century.
In 64 extracts, this comprehensive anthology covers 2375 years of mainly philosophical texts in 375 dense pages. this is an immense resource covering a lot of ground.When choosing a theme like this, a motif to draw through history, it’s fascinating how many other aspects of personal, social and existential life begin to cohere around the topic. What one wants from an anthology is breadth as well as detail; one wants the reach but also the specifics. What’s important is not only the selection, but making choices within the selection itself, knowing what to cut and paste. This anthology certainly has the range and there were, for me, many new discoveries, such as links with religion, aesthetics and diversity politics.
– South African Theatre Journal, December 2017
A work of scholarship spanning this breadth of time, featuring the text of so many contributors, and from so many languages runs the risk of being bogged down by the weight of its information. In reaching backward and forward in time at so many points without creating confusion, the Reader is a testament to the work of Romanska and Ackerman. Reader in Comedy feels appropriately challenging and would make an ideal text for university-level coursework…..As the unique challenges of the twenty-first century materialize, Reader in Comedy arrives precisely when it is needed most, and it provides an excellent starting point for those looking for relief, resistance or both.
– Platform Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts, November 2017
Romanska and Ackerman’s Reader in Comedy is a very ambitious project, which draws on a range of sources from antiquity to the twenty-first century to compile an authoritative volume of works about comedy. …The editors have created [anthology] with remarkable breadth.
– Studies in Theatre and Performance, August 2017
An impressive cast of notable contributors offers their definitions of comedy and its historical contexts, themes, narrative structures, plots, character types and tropes. As a valuable precis of historical writings on comedy, Reader in Comedy is a full, rich and highly informative anthology that can be dipped into time and time again. It traces the evolution of thinking about comedy and comic text and places this within a consolidated timeline. For the scholar of comic theory and criticism, this is an extremely valuable reference tool.
– Comedy Studies, July 2017