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Throughout history, comedy has been used as a form of entertainment all over the world, whether in the courts of the Western kings or the villages of the Far East.

Joke books containing a mix of wordplay, puns, situational humor, and play with taboo subjects like sex and scatology, remained popular over the centuries.They viewed comedy as simply the "art of reprehension" and made no reference to light and cheerful events or troublesome beginnings and happy endings associated with classical Greek comedy.After the Latin translations of the 12th century, the term comedy thus gained a new semantic meaning in Medieval literature. Humour (British English) or humor (American English; see spelling differences) is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. For the Roman Catholic Pope Saint Hilarius, see Pope Hilarius.The terms comedy and satire became synonymous after Aristotle's Poetics was translated into Arabic in the medieval Islamic world, where it was elaborated upon by Arabic writers and Islamic philosophers such as Abu Bischr, his pupil Al-Farabi, Persian Avicenna, and Averroes.

Due to cultural differences, they disassociated comedy from Greek dramatic representation, and instead identified it with Arabic poetic themes and forms, such as hija (satirical poetry).

Local performing arts, storytelling, vernacular fiction, and poetry offer a wide variety of humorous styles and sensibilities.

Famous Chinese humorists include the ancient jesters Chunyu Kun and Dongfang Shuo; writers of the Ming and Qing dynasties such as Feng Menglong, Li Yu, and Wu Jingzi; and modern comic writers such as Lu Xun, Lin Yutang, Lao She, Qian Zhongshu, Wang Xiaobo, and Wang Shuo, and performers such as Ge You, Guo Degang, and Zhou Libo.

The prevailing types of theories attempting to account for the existence of humour include psychological theories, the vast majority of which consider humour-induced behaviour to be very healthy; spiritual theories, which may, for instance, consider humour to be a "gift from God"; and theories which consider humour to be an unexplainable mystery, very much like a mystical experience.

The benign-violation theory, endorsed by Peter Mc Graw, attempts to explain humour's existence.

Later, in Greek philosophy, Aristotle, in the Poetics (1449a, pp.