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Looking at Laughter: Humor, Power, and Transgression in Roman Visual Culture, 100 B.C.- A.D. 250 / Edition 1
     

Looking at Laughter: Humor, Power, and Transgression in Roman Visual Culture, 100 B.C.- A.D. 250 / Edition 1

by John R. Clarke
 

ISBN-10: 0520237331

ISBN-13: 9780520237339

Pub. Date: 11/17/2007

Publisher: University of California Press

In this fresh, accessible, and beautifully illustrated book, his third to examine an aspect of Roman visual culture, John R. Clarke explores the question, "What made Romans laugh?" Looking at Laughter examines a heterogeneous corpus of visual material, from the crudely obscene to the exquisitely sophisticated and from the playful to the deadly

Overview

In this fresh, accessible, and beautifully illustrated book, his third to examine an aspect of Roman visual culture, John R. Clarke explores the question, "What made Romans laugh?" Looking at Laughter examines a heterogeneous corpus of visual material, from the crudely obscene to the exquisitely sophisticated and from the playful to the deadly serious—everything from street theater to erudite paintings parodying the emperor. Nine chapters, organized under the rubrics of Visual Humor, Social Humor, and Sexual Humor, analyze a wide range of visual art, including wall painting, sculpture, mosaics, and ceramics. Archaeological sites, as well as a range of ancient texts, inscriptions, and graffiti, provide the background for understanding the how and why of humorous imagery. This entertaining study offers fascinating insights into the mentality of Roman patrons and viewers who enjoyed laughing at the gods, the powers-that-be, and themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520237339
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
11/17/2007
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.13(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

PART ONE VISUAL HUMOR
1. Words or Images? Degrees of Visuality in Roman Humor
2. Funny Faces—Onstage and Off
3. Double Takes
4. Apotropaic Laughter

PART TWO SOCIAL HUMOR
5. Power over the Other—or the Other’s Power? Laughing at the Pygmy and the Aethiops
6. Who’s Laughing? Modern Scholars and Ancient Viewers in Class Conflict
7. Parody in Elite Visual Culture at Pompeii: Heroes, Gods, and Foundation Myths

PART THREE SEXUAL HUMOR
8. Sexual Humor and the Gods
9. Laughing at Human Sexual Folly

Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
List of Illustrations

Index

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