C.J. Hribal: Comic and Cosmic Distance (July 2007)
What can comedy do that drama can’t? In this lecture, C.J. Hribal explores what comic distance can convey about the human condition; he focuses on how three novellas—The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol, Ward No. 6by Anton Chekhov, and The Metamorphosisby Franz Kafka—modulate narrative distance to evoke comedy and tragedy simultaneously; in doing so, Hribal suggests, they allow the reader to feel complex empathy for their characters.