From Objects of Desire to Objects of Comedy in Chaplin’s Modern Times

  • Alfie Bown
Part of the Performance Philosophy book series (PPH)


At the 1937 Entartete Kunst exhibition in Munich, threatening material with the potential to put fascism into question was exhibited to spectators as the object of ridicule and laughter. This chapter considers the kinds of psychological movements in play when anxiety and its objects become abjected objects of laughter and ridicule in this way. It then goes on to consider whether laughter, or at least certain eruptions of it, might be conceived of as a response to or a way of dealing with the subject’s problematic relationship with their desire rather than as a response to anxiety. Chaplin’s Modern Times, it is argued, shows us this ‘other side’ to laughter: that it can sometimes be not so much a response to anxiety (as psychoanalysis has claimed before) but a response to desire and its problems.


Comedy Fascism Psychoanalysis Anxiety Chaplin Modern Times 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfie Bown
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonEghamUK

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