The Dark Ecology of Comedy

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Pursuing the ‘undigested’ principle in Timothy Morton's ‘The Dark Ecology of Elegy’, this essay will argue that the comic mode, despite seemingly being an opposing mode to Morton's, can produce similar results under the disarming camouflage of humour. To support such a case this essay will explore a range of material: from cartoons on the subject of pollution and climate change to Jo Shapcott's Mad Cow poems that concern the BSE crisis. Approaching such diversity, John Morreall's theories of humour will be applied in order to understand the structures and effects relevant to particular examples of comedy. Whilst this will reveal that an environmental comic mode is replete with Morton's same melancholy, the same ‘black bile’, there will be a departure from Morton's argument by revealing how the comic mode – in its ability to prompt self-identification and self-critique – can offer a corrective function for destructive environmental attitudes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGreen Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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