On Humor

In the midst of my research on Ibsen’s poetics, I ran across a wonderful passage in one of William Archer’s essays. I laughed quite out loud and got a host of odd looks in the café where I sit. I would explain my laughter to the folks drinking coffee/tea/(eating) bagels alongside me in the café if I were not afraid that I would, in turn, bore them in explanation.

“I am far from denying that there are touches of mannerism in Ibsen which sometimes provoke an unintended smile. To people in whose eyes these surface oddities bulk so large that they cannot see the master-poet behind them, I can only apologize for having bored them with this discussion. The operation for the removal of their mental cataract is far beyond my surgery.”
-William Archer

If you do not see any humor in this, it’s best not to ask. I seem to share the dead man’s opinion.


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