Semites and Stereotypes: Characteristics of Jewish Humor

Overview

With an ongoing international conference, Jewish humor in recent years has been a subject of serious scholarly inquiry. Most academic publications, however, have been individual works representing a particular thesis or viewpoint, generally on literary aspects. The present collection of essays by scholars from England, France, the United States, Denmark, Israel, and Australia explores characteristics of Jewish humor from a variety of perspectives, including anthropology, ...

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Overview

With an ongoing international conference, Jewish humor in recent years has been a subject of serious scholarly inquiry. Most academic publications, however, have been individual works representing a particular thesis or viewpoint, generally on literary aspects. The present collection of essays by scholars from England, France, the United States, Denmark, Israel, and Australia explores characteristics of Jewish humor from a variety of perspectives, including anthropology, literature, psychology, sociology, and religion.

Geographically, the work distinguishes between the Jewish humor of Israel and that of the diaspora; historically, it traces Jewish humor to the Bible. The linkages with Judaism and the Yiddish language are explored. Essays deal with the Jewish use of humor in stressful and tragic situations, with self-disparagement in Jewish humor, with anti-semitism and stereotyping, and with Jewish women as the objects of humor. The contributions to world culture of humorists Sholom Aleichem, Woody Allen, Philip Roth, Charlie Chaplin, and numerous contemporary performers are discussed as are the Jewish theorists of humor, including Sigmund Freud, Henri Bergson, and Arthur Koestler. An interdisciplinary book, it will be of interest to students and researchers of Jewish tradition and folklore, Jewish-American literature, American studies, and humor, popular culture, anthropology, psychology, and sociology.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

AVNER ZIV is Professor of Psychology in the School of Education at Tel Aviv University, Israel, where his main research specialties are psychology of humor, adolescence, giftedness, and counseling and psychotherapy.

ANAT ZAJDMAN is an assistant in the Department of Education at the University of Haifa, Israel, where she is engaged in educational research, particularly on the educational aspects of the use of humor in schools and the implications of humor in interpersonal communication.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Jewish Humor - A Survey and a Program
Pt. I Psychosocial Characteristics of Jewish Humor
1 The Schlemiezel: Black Humor and the Shtetl Tradition 3
2 Sholom Aleichem's Humor of Affirmation and Survival 13
3 Exploring the Thesis of the Self-Deprecating Jewish Sense of Humor 29
4 Three Jews and a Blindfold: The Politics of Gallows Humor 47
5 Are Jews Funnier than Non-Jews? 59
6 Since When Is Jewish Humor Not Anti-Semitic? 71
7 The Origins and Evolution of a Classic Jewish Joke 87
Pt. II Men and Women in Jewish Humor
8 Love among the Stereotypes, or Why Woody's Women Leave 107
9 Philip Roth and Woody Allen: Freud and the Humor of the Repressed 121
10 From Eve to the Jewish American Princess: The Comic Representation of Women in Jewish Literature 131
11 The Transactional Implications of the Jewish Marriage Jokes 143
Pt. III Humor in the Promised Land
12 Jewish Humor in the Service of an Israeli Political Leader: The Case of Levi Eshkol 165
13 The Development of Humor in Israeli Children's Literature in the Twentieth Century 177
Selected Bibliography 185
Name Index 187
Subject Index 191
About the Editors and Contributors 195
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