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An extensive investigation of the forms and functions of the comic, this lively and engaging English critical edition will be welcomed by those interested in laughter, comedy, folklore, Russian literature, and specific authors such as Gogol, Pushkin, Chekhov, Rabelais, Molière, and Shakespeare. The direct, humorous, and provocative style of this work, which tackles the subject of humour with a vast array of vivid examples encountered on every page, will certainly appeal to the contemporary reader. Vladimir Propp takes various forms of laughter in literature and real life and addresses questions such as the comic of similarity, the comic of difference, parody, duping, incongruity, lying, ritual laughter, and carnival laughter. The author of the widely acclaimed Morphology of the Folktale has written an original, comprehensive, and exciting study on how humour works, and on everything you wanted to know about the genre, in a clear, approachable, and insightful manner.