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Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-3110155624 ISBN-10: 3110155621 Edition: First Edition

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Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience + The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious (Penguin Classics)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: De Gruyter; First Edition edition (August 22, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3110155621
  • ISBN-13: 978-3110155624
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter L. Berger (Boston, MA) is University Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at Boston University and the founder and Senior Research Fellow of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs. He has written numerous books on sociological theory, the sociology of religion, and Third World development. Among his more recent books are In Praise of Doubt (with Anton Zijderveld); Religious America, Secular Europe? (with Grace Davie and Effie Fokas); Questions of Faith; Many Globalizations (edited with Samuel Huntington); and Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience. Professor Berger has received honorary degrees from Loyola University, University of Notre Dame, University of Geneva, University of Munich, Sofia University, and Renmin University of China.

Customer Reviews

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. Cederberg on May 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If one were limited to reading just one book on exploring how and why the comic dimension of human existence functions, this should be the choice. Berger treats the comic dimension with breadth -- from the standpoint of sociology, ethnic and cultural studies, and theology. He seasons the text with many (good) jokes that contribute well to the development of his argument that the comic is a dimension that intrudes on the everyday, taken-for-granted world. The comic both enlightens everyday existence so that we see it with new eyes and opens us to another world -- one of sheer possibility and joy. This "other" world has a redemptive and transcendent quality -- always possible and potent -- and thus makes our everyday world more enchanted and delightful.

Berger writes with such competence, confidence and genuine humility that he makes reading the text an experience of redemption and enchantment in and of itself. I am grateful that he wrote this book and pleased that I read it (again and again).
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dr. M. J. Foster on October 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am heartened that Peter Berger continued to write books past the age when many have retired. Having now looked back at his first edition of "A Rumor of Angels" 1969, in his concluding remarks in the last chapter he mentions "the comic relief of redemption" - this giveaway phrase was explored a little more in the additional chapters supplied to the second edition of "A Rumor of Angels" 1990. In "Redeeming Laughter" the subject of the comic as a sign of transcendence is given full treatment.

In addition to the subject matter, the reader is stretched a little. The book is not aimed at "Common Language" readers (aimed at a low reading age, as is true for all too many present day books). when I first read the Social Construction of Reality (authored jointly with Thomas Luckman), and then the Sacred Canopy - I was forced to keep a dictionary at my side. This was then true as I read "A Rumor of Angles" back in the mid 1970s. Even though I continually have read academic books over the past 30 years (mainly historic) - as soon as I opened the pages of "Redeeming Laughter" I was again reaching for the Dictionary. This is not to say, the Author's English is perfect, as it is not. For example in "A Rumor of Angels" 2nd Edition, Anchor Books, Doubleday 1990, page 126, Peter Berger writes; "I'm not looking for a new faith to be converted to" instead of the strictly correct "I'm not looking for a new faith to which to be converted".

Peter Berger's insights to belief, and his positive reaffirmation of faith, are not the results of a blind faith, but a faith which has been thought through at a deep level. He has shifted his position over the years in regards to secularisation as world events (especially the reassertion of Islam) have unravelled.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Howard E. Borck on October 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Berger is a brilliant Sociologist. Writing style is engaging yet high level vocabulary and critical thinking. His Invitation to Sociology is also a great and challenging read...as is this review of humor throughout an historical, world-wide perspective. From court jester to comedian.
Also has some fun jokes dispersed through-out.

Deep read.
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9 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
After reading a review of "Redeeming Laughter" in the "Commonweal", I hurried to obtain a copy. I enjoyed it immensely. I can picture Dr. Berger's straw woman, Dorothy Hartmund, with her heart in her mouth.
Herman Krieger, author, "Churches ad hoc: a divine comedy"
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