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The senses of humor : self and laughter in modern America

Author: Daniel Wickberg
Publisher: Ithaca : Cornell University Press, [2015]
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"The expression "sense of humor" was first coined in the 1840s, and the idea that such a sense was a personality trait to be valued developed only in the 1870s. What is the relationship between medieval humoral medicine and this distinctively modern idea of the sense of humor? What has it meant in the past 125 years to declare that someone lacks a sense of humor? Why do modern Americans say it is a good thing not to  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Electronic books
Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
(DLC) 97030301
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Daniel Wickberg
ISBN: 9780801454387 0801454387
OCLC Number: 907773514
Language Note: In English.
Description: 1 online resource
Contents: ""Contents""; ""Acknowledgments""; ""Introduction""; ""1. The Idea of Humor""; ""2. Humor, Laughter, and Sensibility""; ""3. Bureaucratic Individualism and the Sense of Humor""; ""4. The Commodity Form of the Joke""; ""5. The Humorous and the Serious""; ""Conclusion""; ""Notes""; ""Index""
Responsibility: Daniel Wickberg.
More information:

Abstract:

"The expression "sense of humor" was first coined in the 1840s, and the idea that such a sense was a personality trait to be valued developed only in the 1870s. What is the relationship between medieval humoral medicine and this distinctively modern idea of the sense of humor? What has it meant in the past 125 years to declare that someone lacks a sense of humor? Why do modern Americans say it is a good thing not to take oneself seriously? How is the joke, as a twentieth-century quasi-literary form, different from the traditional folktale? Wickberg addresses these questions among others and in the process uses the history of ideas to throw new light on the way contemporary Americans think and speak about humor and laughter." "The context of Wickberg's analysis is Anglo-American; the specifically British meanings of humor and laughter from the sixteenth century forward provide the framework for understanding American cultural values in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The genealogy of the sense of humor is, like the study of keywords, an avenue into a significant aspect of the cultural history of modernity. Drawing on a wide range of sources and disciplinary perspectives, Wickberg's analysis challenges many of the prevailing views of modern American culture and suggests a new model for cultural historians."--Jacket.

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