An Anatomy of Humor

An Anatomy of Humor

by Arthur Asa Berger
     
 

Humor permeates every aspect of society and has done so for thousands of years. People experience it daily through television, newspapers, literature, and contact with others. Rarely do social researchers analyze humor or try to determine what makes it such a dominating force in our lives. The types of jokes a person enjoys contribute significantly to the

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Overview

Humor permeates every aspect of society and has done so for thousands of years. People experience it daily through television, newspapers, literature, and contact with others. Rarely do social researchers analyze humor or try to determine what makes it such a dominating force in our lives. The types of jokes a person enjoys contribute significantly to the definition of that person as well as to the character of a given society. Arthur Asa Berger explores these and other related topics in An Anatomy of Humor. He shows how humor can range from the simple pun to complex plots in Elizabethan plays.

Berger examines a number of topics—ethnicity, race, gender, politics—each with its own comic dimension. Laughter is beneficial to both our physical and mental health, according to Berger. He discerns a multiplicity of ironies that are intrinsic to the analysis of humor. He discovers as much complexity and ambiguity in a cartoon, such as Mickey Mouse, as he finds in an important piece of literature, such as Huckleberry Finn. An Anatomy of Humor is an intriguing and enjoyable read for people interested in humor and the impact of popular and mass culture on society. It will also be of interest to professionals in communication and psychologists concerned with the creative process.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560000860
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
01/01/1999
Pages:
192

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Humor, Psyche and Society1
Pt. 1Theoretical Concerns
1A Glossary of the Techniques of Humor: Morphology of the Joke-Tale15
2Anatomy of a Joke57
Pt. 2Applications
3The Telephone Pole with the Braided Armpits: Ethnic and Racial Jokes and American Society65
4"On Me You Can't Count": An Interpretation of a Jewish Joke with Relevance to the Jewish Question75
5Jewish Fools: From the Wise Men of Chelm to Jackie Mason83
6Mickey Mouse and Krazy Kat: Of Mice and Men97
7Comics and Popular Culture: Not Just Kid's Stuff107
8Mark Russell in Buffalo121
9A Cool Million127
10Twelfth Night: Comedic Techniques and Social Considerations133
11Huckleberry Finn as a Novel of the Absurd: Making Sense of an Existentialist Hero145
12Healing with Humor: A Laugh a Day Keeps the Doctor Away155
13Comedy and Creation: On the Generative Power of Humor163
Bibliography175
Names Index181
Subject Index185
Jokes and Humorous Texts Index191

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