It seemed obvious in planning a number devoted to humor that The Paris Review should approach Harold Bloom, the distinguished Yale academic and critic, author of the recently published The Western Canon, to see if he would supply a canon of Western humor—nothing too lengthy, of course, but that anything he wrote about the subject would be most welcome. He wrote back that, alas, he didn’t feel he could afford to spend the time writing such a canon, but that he was prepared to talk about humor if someone came up to Yale to see him, and would that be all right? Of course it was, and Mr. Bloom was paid a visit in mid-July. Humor was obviously a compelling topic. For almost three hours, seated in an arm- chair in his living room, he held forth with hardly a pause, often when describing a favorite comic scene dissolving into such helpless laughter as to be hardly able to continue . . .
Issue 136, Fall 1995
If you had to put together a syllabus for a course on humor, what would you assign?…