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In this book, originally published in 1981, Cavell claims that what he calls “comedies of remarriage”—Hollywood comedies from the 1930s and 40s that share a set of genre conventions (borderline farcical cons, absent mothers, weaponized erotic dialogue), actors (Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck), and settings (Connecticut)—are the inheritors of the tradition of Shakespearean comedy and romance, and that they constitute a philosophically significant body of work.? He describes the central theme of the genre as “the creation of the woman with and by means of a man.” If that sounds a bit retrograde—well, it is, a bit.
It’s ridiculous and corny, but also very sweet and self-aware.
also includes many of the hallmarks of remarriage comedies: Cavell claims that the woman in comedies of remarriage is often a stand-in for the director, effectively working the “mug” and easily suckered man; Deutch’s character Harper proposes the Cyrano scheme in the first place and is the orchestrator of its biggest successes.
We’d both been fans of the romance genre our entire lives—Christina used to sneak-read her mom’s Harlequins, and Lauren dipped a toe into the romance world with Danielle Steele as a teenager and never turned back.
But because we had other careers for many years before we became writers, when we started publishing romance, we were often asked for recommendations from people from our previous world, who didn’t think they were romance readers.
The Database of Middle English Romance seeks to make this rich body of literature more readily accessible to the modern reader, both academic and lay.
Key information, including (where known) date and place of composition, verse form, authorship and sources, extant manuscripts and early modern prints, is provided for each romance, as is a full list of modern editions, and a plot summary designed to allow readers to negotiate more easily the extraordinary diversity of the genre.“In those films,” Cavell writes, “talking together is fully and plainly being together, a mode of association, a form of life, and I would like to say that in these films the central pair are learning to speak the same language.” Learning to speak the same language is crucial, of course, but so is knowing what language it is you’re trying to learn.In the new Netflix romantic comedy In the film, two overworked assistants played by Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch decide to trick their hardass bosses (Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu) into falling for each other to give themselves more free time—only to develop feelings for each other in the process.Instead, he presents these movies as being about two people creating , about the process of self-discovery and self-knowledge that comes with developing, committing, and recommitting to a relationship with another person who isn’t you.At one point, he describes the comedy of remarriage as a “comedy of equality.” is an attempt to do philosophy via film criticism, to think through the connection between language and ethics, the relationship between conventions and awareness and treating others well, to understand what love meant to others and what it can mean to us by watching closely.And serialized storytelling gives television an opportunity to do more than symbolize or gesture toward the elements a filmed remarriage comedy might omit; in all three of these series, the central couple breaks up, then finds their way back to each with the promise of Diggs’ character reuniting with his ex-wife, who he has secretly been pining after this whole time.In his last scene in the movie, Powell gives him an only somewhat-creepy file of personal information on her—similar to the ones the assistants used to plan the initial setup—beginning the cycle anew. His contributions to human thought are vast and rich; his subjects range from the intricacies of human language to the nature of skill.But one of Cavell’s best-known books is also, at least at first glance, his most frivolous: .(Notably, in all three of these shows, at least one character in the central couple is a writer.) Television frequently operates in closeup, where it can simply focus on two people talking, rather than the digital pyrotechnics of modern blockbuster filmmaking.To use Cavell’s words, these shows are the new inheritors of the Shakespearean legacy handed down to remarriage comedies.