A brief look at the definition of the
Comedy Fiction Genre or Comic novel, brings us to the most obvious
point first: A comic novel is usually a work of fiction in which
the writer seeks to amuse the reader, sometimes with subtlety and
as part of a carefully woven narrative, sometimes above all other
considerations. It could indeed be said that comedy fiction is literary
work that aims primarily to provoke laughter, but this isn't always
as obvious as it first may seem.
There is of course black humour, for example: black comedy, dark
humour and dark comedy. This tends to be a substantial aspect of
much modern fiction. The term describes sardonically humorous effects
derived from mordant wit and morbid or grotesque situations that
deal with anxiety, suffering, or death.
But what do we find comical? Well the definition of what's funny
is: everything is funny and nothing is funny and it all depends
upon your sense of humour and point of view. Let's face it, everybody
is different and will find different things amusing.
Comedy itself assumes many forms, such as the following:
Farce: an exaggerated comedy based on broadly humorous or highly
Parody: a literary or musical work imitating the characteristic
style of some other work or of a writer or composer in a satirical
or humorous way, usually by applying it to an inappropriate subject
Satire: a literary work in which vices, follies, stupidities or
abuses, are held up to ridicule and contempt.
Slapstick comedy: this can sometimes include exaggerated but ultimately
harmless violence directed towards individuals.
In literature one very popular branch
of the comedy fiction genre is romantic comedies, which can include
love and its effect on the central character; this often drives
the story. Of course, Jane Austen has long been considered the
queen of the romantic comedy with Emma and Pride and Prejudice.
More recently, Bridget Jones's Diary and some
chick-lit successors have been giving these classic stories of
romantic tension a more modern twist.
One of the most notable British comic novelists
is P.G. Wodehouse. Other, more contemporary authors of this type
include Martin Amis, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and Ben Elton.
Notable American comic novelists include Terry Southern, Robert
Clark Young, John Kennedy Toole, Joseph Heller and Hunter S. Thompson.