Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

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Overview

Jesters and fools have existed as important and consistent figures in nearly all cultures. Sometimes referred to as clowns, they are typological characters who have conventional roles in the arts, often using nonsense to subvert existing order. But fools are also a part of social and religious history, and they frequently play key roles in the rituals that support and shape a society's system of beliefs. This reference book includes alphabetically arranged entries for approximately 60 fools and jesters from a wide range of cultures. Included are entries for performers from American popular culture, such as Woody Allen, Mae West, Charlie Chaplin, and the Marx Brothers; literary characters, such as Shakespeare's Falstaff, Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel, and Singer's Gimpel; and cultural and mythological figures, such as India's Birbal, the American circus clown, the Native American Coyote, Taishu Engeki of Japan, Hephaestus, Loki the Norse fool, schlimiels and schlimazels, and the drag queen.

The entries, written by expert contributors, are critical as well as informative. Each begins with a biographical, artistic, religious, or historical background section, which places the subject within a larger cultural and historical context. A description and analysis follow. This section may include a discussion of the fool's appearance, gender role, ethical and moral roles, social function, and relationship to such themes as nature, time, and mortality. The entry then discusses the critical reception of the subject and concludes with an extensive bibliography of general works.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A reference beginning with an introduction examining the fool figure, followed by some 60 entries of varying lengths on individual and typological fool figures of great diversity, including Lucille Ball, Native American coyote trickster tales and cycles, Sir John Falstaff, Forrest Gump, William Kemp, Loki the Norse fool, Paul the Apostle, Rigoletto, South African political clowning, Taishu Engeki, and the Tarot fool, to name a few. The volume concludes with a selected general bibliography, an index cross-referencing terms within the essays, and brief biographies of the contributors. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313297854
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 572
  • Lexile: 1380L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.44 (d)

Meet the Author

VICKI K. JANIK is Assistant Professor of English at the State University of New York at Farmingdale, where she teaches courses in Shakespeare, drama, comparative mythology, drama, and other topics.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Woody Allen: The Clown as Tragic Hero 25
The Anthropology of Fools 33
Robert Armin 41
Archy Armstrong 50
The Badin 55
Lucille Ball 62
Jean-Louis Barrault 71
Beckett's Postmodern Clowns: Vladimir (Didi), Estragon (Gogo), Pozzo, and Lucky 79
Jack Benny 85
Birbal 91
The Bishop of Fools 97
George Burns and Gracie Allen: The Jewish Vaudeville Tradition 106
The Camp 113
Canio-Pagliacco and Petrouchka: Two Contrasting Images of Pierrot 120
Charlie Chaplin 127
The American Circus Clown 136
Commedia dell'Arte 146
Native American Coyote Trickster Tales and Cycles 155
The Drag Queen 169
Sir John Falstaff 176
Feste 185
W. C. Fields 194
Folly in the Enduring Tradition 198
The Fop: "Apes and Echoes of Men": Gentlemanly Ideals and the Restoration 207
Gimpel 215
Joseph Grimaldi 220
Forrest Gump: Innocent Fool 226
Hamlet 231
Hephaestus, Hermes, and Prometheus: Jesters to the Gods 237
The Heyoka of the Sioux 246
Clowns of the Hopi 250
Knaves and Fools in Ben Jonson 254
Buster Keaton 265
William Kemp 273
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy: Yin and Yang 281
Lear's Fool 289
Loki, the Norse Fool 295
The Marx Brothers 298
Merry Report 308
Paul the Apostle 316
Penasar of Bali: Sacred Clowns 329
Pierrot: Dramatic and Literary Mask 336
Plautus's Clowns 343
Puck/Robin Goodfellow 351
Punch and Judy 363
Francois Rabelais 370
Martha Raye 376
Rigoletto 382
Schlemiels and Schlimazels 388
The Sleary Circus 395
Socrates as Fool in Aristophanes and Plato 400
Will Sommers 406
The Sottie, the Sots, and the Fols 411
South African Political Clowning: Laughter and Resistance to Apartheid 419
Country Squires and Bumpkins 428
The Three Stooges 438
Taishu Engeki: Subverting the Patterns of Japanese Culture 445
The Tarot Fool 453
The Tarot Fool in English and American Novels 459
Touchstone 466
The Vice Figure in Middle English Morality Plays 471
The Vice in Henry Medwall's Nature 485
Mae West 494
The Yankee 500
Zanni 508
Selected General Bibliography 513
Index 521
About the Editor and Contributors 545
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