On Thomas Lux’s Poetry: Who’s Laughing and What Good Does the Laughing Do?
Though Baudelaire is against laughter, arguing it serves no social purpose, I aim to aruge, using functional comic theory, that the poetry of Thomas Lux is often heading toward some social end. His poetry can allow for the ventilation of manageable hostility, the brief disruption of authority, group cohesion, and a beneficial disorder for the creation and/or maintenance of a living order. From each perspective, the poetry of Thomas Lux disrupts order so that it can continue; it preserves order by offering disorder safe harbor. Moreover, this breathing spell from reality offers the chance for bonding with our fellow, and it holds at bay the demons we fear by allowing safe passage for licit perturbation. Turning to Aristotle, Charles Darwin, George Meredith, Henri Bergson, and Marcel Gutwirth to lay my theoretical foundation, I will then formally analyze comic elements in Lux's poetry and explain how his audience's laughter serves some moral utility or works as a social corrective.
Keywords: Comic Theory, Thomas Lux, Audience
Dr. Jeffrey Hughes Morgan
Associate Professor, English Department