Sunday, August 22, 2010

Deep Comedy by Peter Leithart

With a big emphasis on the word "deep," Leithart paddles into the pool of punditry in his book Deep Comedy: Trinity, Tragedy, & Hope In Western Literature with a very serious look at comedy and the Christian Faith with regards to literature. But seriously folks, this book ain't funny. If you're looking for light, fluffy humor stick with the Sunday funny papers because this book is as serious as a heart attack!

Leithart defines "deep comedy" as a story that ends with a better ending than the way it began, with a good dose of tragedy in the middle.

The book is basically split into three parts: Firstly he examines ancient literature, i.e. The Iliad, The Odyssey, etc. According to Leithart, there is very little if any "deep" comedy in ancient literature. In the second part, he looks at "deep comedy" as it relates to theology. And finally, in the third and last part, Leithart focuses on Shakespeare, particularly the plays, King Lear, and Twelfth Night (which I have never read but I'm afraid they might "kill" me if I were to do so!); showing how these stories are very much examples of "deep comedy." In other words they are profoundly "Christian" in their scope.

It would behoove me to go back and read this book again sometime in the future. It was a short, albeit hard, difficult, and deep book. And that's no laughing matter!

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