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

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

by Vicki Janik
     
 

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

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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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313297854
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/05/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
572
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.44(d)
Lexile:
1380L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction1
Woody Allen: The Clown as Tragic Hero25
The Anthropology of Fools33
Robert Armin41
Archy Armstrong50
The Badin55
Lucille Ball62
Jean-Louis Barrault71
Beckett's Postmodern Clowns: Vladimir (Didi), Estragon (Gogo), Pozzo, and Lucky79
Jack Benny85
Birbal91
The Bishop of Fools97
George Burns and Gracie Allen: The Jewish Vaudeville Tradition106
The Camp113
Canio-Pagliacco and Petrouchka: Two Contrasting Images of Pierrot120
Charlie Chaplin127
The American Circus Clown136
Commedia dell'Arte146
Native American Coyote Trickster Tales and Cycles155
The Drag Queen169
Sir John Falstaff176
Feste185
W. C. Fields194
Folly in the Enduring Tradition198
The Fop: "Apes and Echoes of Men": Gentlemanly Ideals and the Restoration207
Gimpel215
Joseph Grimaldi220
Forrest Gump: Innocent Fool226
Hamlet231
Hephaestus, Hermes, and Prometheus: Jesters to the Gods237
The Heyoka of the Sioux246
Clowns of the Hopi250
Knaves and Fools in Ben Jonson254
Buster Keaton265
William Kemp273
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy: Yin and Yang281
Lear's Fool289
Loki, the Norse Fool295
The Marx Brothers298
Merry Report308
Paul the Apostle316
Penasar of Bali: Sacred Clowns329
Pierrot: Dramatic and Literary Mask336
Plautus's Clowns343
Puck/Robin Goodfellow351
Punch and Judy363
Francois Rabelais370
Martha Raye376
Rigoletto382
Schlemiels and Schlimazels388
The Sleary Circus395
Socrates as Fool in Aristophanes and Plato400
Will Sommers406
The Sottie, the Sots, and the Fols411
South African Political Clowning: Laughter and Resistance to Apartheid419
Country Squires and Bumpkins428
The Three Stooges438
Taishu Engeki: Subverting the Patterns of Japanese Culture445
The Tarot Fool453
The Tarot Fool in English and American Novels459
Touchstone466
The Vice Figure in Middle English Morality Plays471
The Vice in Henry Medwall's Nature485
Mae West494
The Yankee500
Zanni508
Selected General Bibliography513
Index521
About the Editor and Contributors545

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