Comic Theory in the Sixteenth Century

In future posts, I plan on discussing various improv related books that I have and am willing to lend out to anyone in the Workshop. However, as I was cleaning out a bookshelf today, I came across something I forgot that I own and just have to mention.

Comic Theory in the Sixteenth Century by Marvin T. Herrick. This little gem was published in 1964 by the University of Illinois Press, Urbana and has a copyright notice of 1950! The preface is dated 1949.

Let’s face it, you wont find any tips for spicing up your characters, or providing better support to your fellow actors. But, if you’re looking for a discussion of Julius Caesar’s examination of Greek theories of the laughable and its influence on Quintilian’s Renaissance theories of the ridiculus (I kid you not, pp 37-38 in a section titled The Risible) then I’d be happy to loan you this book.

And, in keeping with the educational nature of this blog (from Dictionary.com):

ris�i�ble (rz-bl) adj.

  1. Relating to laughter or used in eliciting laughter.
  2. Eliciting laughter; ludicrous.
  3. Capable of laughing or inclined to laugh.