Comic Anxiety and Kafka's Black Comedy

Philosophy and Literature 35 (2):282-302 (2012)
Abstract
One evening years ago I was watching a performance of the Chinese Magic Circus of Taiwan when it suddenly came to me that the fundamental characteristics of comedy were being acted out before my eyes. The discovery seems ironic in retrospect, as I did not find the performance very amusing, but the crude simplicity of the act illuminated the underlying dynamics of the genre. Two Taiwanese clowns came on stage dressed in the traditional white coverall and floppy hat that signify a chef. One of them announced that he and his companion were Puerto Rican chefs, and they proceeded to set up a row of nine springy bamboo poles, each about seven feet high, each one stuck vertically into a firm base and separated from the ..
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