How do comedy and love get along? Does love conquer all, or just make us laugh? This class considers comedy and love in drama, narrative, and film spanning more than 2000 years. We will revel in Greek, Roman, and Shakespearean theater and the bawdy humor of Rabelais; explore Aphra Behn’s eighteenth-century feminist rakes in The Rover; investigate romantic comedy, and social satire in Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde; peek under the covers of small-town family life in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home; and explore the uneasy relationship between farce and romance, violence and redemptive humor, satire and festivity in comic art.

Discussion will draw on popular and contemporary forms, including political humor, stand-up and sketch comedy, and cartoons.