A college of wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humor. Dost thou think I care for a satire or an epigram?
(William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Benedick, in Much Ado About Nothing, act 5, sc. 4, l. 100-2.
Having sworn he would never marry, he is teased by Don Pedro for agreeing to marry Beatrice; "college" means assembly.)
The genius of the Spanish people is exquisitely subtle, without being at all acute; hence there is so much humour and so little wit in their literature.
(Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), British poet, critic. repr. In Collected Works, vol. 14, ed. Kathleen Coburn (1990). Table Talk, April 23, 1832, Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. Henry Nelson Coleridge (1835).)
My chief humor is for a tyrant. I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.
(William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Bottom, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 1, sc. 2, l. 29-30.
"Humor" means inclination; "Ercles" is Bottom's corruption of Hercules; to "tear a cat" on the stage is to rant and bluster.)
Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world. So if it is correct to say that humor was stamped out in Nazi Germany, that does not mean that people were not in good spirits, or anything of that sort, but something much deeper and more important.
(Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Culture and Value, entry in 1948, eds. G.H. von Wright with Heikki Nyman (1980).)
The difference between farce and humour in literature is, I suppose, that farce strums louder and louder on one string, while humour varies its note, changes its key, grows and spreads and deepens until it may indeed reach tragic depths.
(V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author, critic. "A Comic Novel," Complete Collected Essays, Random House (1991).)