„I am forced, as I have often said, to try to make myself laugh, that I may not cry: for one or other I must do.“

—  Samuel Richardson, Vol. 2, p. 231; Letter 92.
Samuel Richardson foto
Samuel Richardson4
1689 - 1761
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„That's great art — Everything is self-evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh.“

—  Bertolt Brecht German poet, playwright, theatre director 1898 - 1956
Context: The theater-goer in conventional dramatic theater says: Yes, I've felt that way, too. That's the way I am. That's life. That's the way it will always be. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him. That's great art — Everything is self-evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh. But the theater-goer in the epic theater says: I would never have thought that. You can't do that. That's very strange, practically unbelievable. That has to stop. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him. That's great art — nothing is self-evident. I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh. "Entertainment or Education? (1936)

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„Do not think that I am not sad, though I laugh. See, I have cried even when the laugh did choke me. But no more think that I am all sorry when I cry, for the laugh he come just the same. Keep it always with you that laughter who knock at your door and say, ‘May I come in?’ is not the true laughter.“

—  Bram Stoker Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula 1847 - 1912
Context: Van Helsing and I came on here. The moment we were alone in the carriage he gave way to a regular fit of hysterics. He has denied to me since that it was hysterics, and insisted that it was only his sense of humour asserting itself under very terrible conditions. He laughed till he cried, and I had to draw down the blinds lest any one should see us and misjudge; and then he cried, till he laughed again; and laughed and cried together, just as a woman does. I tried to be stern with him, as one is to a woman under the circumstances; but it had no effect. Men and women are so different in manifestations of nervous strength or weakness! Then when his face grew grave and stern again I asked him why his mirth, and why at such a time. His reply was in a way characteristic of him, for it was logical and forceful and mysterious. He said:— “Ah, you don't comprehend, friend John. Do not think that I am not sad, though I laugh. See, I have cried even when the laugh did choke me. But no more think that I am all sorry when I cry, for the laugh he come just the same. Keep it always with you that laughter who knock at your door and say, ‘May I come in?’ is not the true laughter. No! he is a king, and he come when and how he like. He ask no person; he choose no time of suitability. He say, ‘I am here.’ Behold, in example I grieve my heart out for that so sweet young girl; I give my blood for her, though I am old and worn; I give my time, my skill, my sleep; I let my other sufferers want that so she may have all. And yet I can laugh at her very grave — laugh when the clay from the spade of the sexton drop upon her coffin and say ‘Thud, thud!’ to my heart, till it send back the blood from my cheek. My heart bleed for that poor boy — that dear boy, so of the age of mine own boy had I been so blessed that he live, and with his hair and eyes the same. There, you know now why I love him so. And yet when he say things that touch my husband-heart to the quick, and make my father-heart yearn to him as to no other man — not even you, friend John, for we are more level in experiences than father and son — yet even at such a moment King Laugh he come to me and shout and bellow in my ear, ‘Here I am! here I am!’ till the blood come dance back and bring some of the sunshine that he carry with him to my cheek. Oh, friend John, it is a strange world, a sad world, a world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles; and yet when King Laugh come, he make them all dance to the tune he play. Bleeding hearts, and dry bones of the churchyard, and tears that burn as they fall — all dance together to the music that he make with that smileless mouth of him. And believe me, friend John, that he is good to come, and kind. Ah, we men and women are like ropes drawn tight with strain that pull us different ways. Then tears come; and, like the rain on the ropes, they brace us up, until perhaps the strain become too great, and we break. But King Laugh he come like the sunshine, and he ease off the strain again; and we bear to go on with our labour, what it may be.” Chapter XIV, Dr. Seward's Diary entry for 22 September

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„I am forced to say that you have not made the right choice. I have been locked up in the socially oppressive iron casket of 'porda' for all my life. I have not been able to mix very well with people – as a matter of fact, I do not even know what is expected of a chairperson. I do not know if one is supposed to laugh, or to cry.“

—  Begum Rokeya Bengali feminist writer and social worker 1880 - 1932
Context: Although I am grateful to you for the respect that you have expressed towards me by inviting me to preside over the conference, I am forced to say that you have not made the right choice. I have been locked up in the socially oppressive iron casket of 'porda' for all my life. I have not been able to mix very well with people – as a matter of fact, I do not even know what is expected of a chairperson. I do not know if one is supposed to laugh, or to cry. When she was asked, in 1926, to chair the Bengal women's educational conference. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/may/28/rokeya-sakhawat-hossain-hero-tahmima-anam

M. R. James foto

„I heard one cry in the night, and I heard one laugh afterwards. If I cannot forget that, I shall not be able to sleep again.“

—  M. R. James British writer 1862 - 1936
"Count Magnus", from Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904); The Collected Ghost Stories of M. R. James (London: Edward Arnold, 1947) p. 111.

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Richard Watson Gilder foto

„I am a woman—therefore I may not
Call to him, cry to him,
Fly to him,
Bid him delay not.“

—  Richard Watson Gilder editor 1844 - 1909
A Woman's Thought, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

Bertolt Brecht foto

„The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him. That's great art — nothing is self-evident. I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh.“

—  Bertolt Brecht German poet, playwright, theatre director 1898 - 1956
Context: The theater-goer in conventional dramatic theater says: Yes, I've felt that way, too. That's the way I am. That's life. That's the way it will always be. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him. That's great art — Everything is self-evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh. But the theater-goer in the epic theater says: I would never have thought that. You can't do that. That's very strange, practically unbelievable. That has to stop. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him. That's great art — nothing is self-evident. I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh. "Entertainment or Education? (1936)