Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It

Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It

by James Geary

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Overview

Entertaining, illuminating, and entirely unique, Wit’s End “convey[s] the power of wit to refresh the mind” (Henry Hitchings, Wall Street Journal).

In “this inventive and playful book” (Tom Beer, Newsday), James Geary explores every facet of wittiness, from its role in innovation to why puns are the highest form of wit. Adopting a different style for each chapter—from dramatic dialogue to sermon, heroic couplets to a barroom monologue—Geary embodies wit in all its forms. Wit’s End agilely balances psychology, folktale, visual art, and literary history with lighthearted humor and acute insight, demonstrating that wit and wisdom are really the same thing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393357592
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/29/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 207,315
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

James Geary is the author of four previous books, including the New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase, and is the deputy curator at Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism. A sought-after speaker and avid juggler, he lives near Boston, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Oft Was Thought, An Essay in Sixty-Four Lines 1

One Bad Apple, Or, An Apology for Paronomasia 5

Thirty-Five Days in May 17

Watchers at the Gates of Mind: Wit and Its Relation to Witzelsucht, Malapropisms, and Bipolar Disorder 35

Perfect Witty Expressions and How to Make Them 52

Advanced Banter 62

An Ode to Wit 76

Turning Words 79

My Name Is Wit 91

Slapstick Metaphysics 105

The Chains of Habit 113

Finding Minds 125

Ambiguous Figures 136

Wisdom of the Sages 150

True Wit 163

Wit's End 166

Wit Thanks 177

Notes and Bibliography 181

Illustration Credits 213

Index 215

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