1st Edition

Humour in the Arts New Perspectives

Edited By Vivienne Westbrook, Shun-liang Chao Copyright 2019
    244 Pages
    by Routledge

    244 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection demonstrates the usefulness of approaching texts—verbal, visual and aural—through a framework of humour. Contributors offer in-depth discussions of humour in the West within a wider cultural historical context to achieve a coherent, chronological sense of how humour proceeds from antiquity to modernity. Reading humorously reveals the complexity of certain aspects of texts that other reading approaches have so far failed to reveal. Humour in the Arts explores humour as a source of cultural formation that engages with ethical, political, and religious controversies whilst acquainting readers with a wide range of humorous structures and strategies used across Western cultures.

    Foreword: The Intersection of Humour Studies and Cultural History  Jessica Milner Davis  Introduction: Reading Humorously: Towards New Perspectives  Shun-liang Chao and Vivienne Westbrook  1. Literary Humour in English: A Short Cultural History  Robert S. White  2. Unbidden to the Banquet: Humour in the Classical Period  R. Drew Griffith  3. Understatement and Incongruity: Humour in the Literature of Anglo-Saxon England  Jonathan Wilcox  4. Laughter and Humour in Middle English Texts  Anne M. Scott  5. Shakespeare’s Reformation Humour  Vivienne Westbrook  6. "To Make Fools Laugh, and Women Blush, and Wise Men Ashamed": Humour in the English Restoration  Lyndsey Bakewell and Sara Read  7. Beyond Slapstick: Humour, Physicality, and Empathic Performance in G. E. Lessing’s Comedies  Pascale LaFountain  8. Emerson’s Sad Clown: American Transcendentalism and the Dilemma of the Humourist  John Michael Corrigan  9. The Congruity of Incongruity: Victorian Intermedial Humour  Mou-Lan Wong  10. "A Tomato Is Also a Child’s Balloon": Surrealist Humour as a Moral Attitude  Shun-liang Chao  Conclusion  John Morreall


    Vivienne Westbrook is an Adjunct Professor at The University of Western Australia and a member of St. John’s College, Cambridge. She has received numerous international endorsements for her work in cultural history, including a Presidential Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

    Shun-liang Chao is Associate Professor of English at National Chengchi University, Taiwan and currently a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University. He is the author of Rethinking the Concept of the Grotesque: Crashaw, Baudelaire, Magritte (Routledge, 2010), awarded an Honourable Mention in 2013 for the Anna Balakian Prize of the International Comparative Literature Association.

    "Humour in the Arts: New Perspectives refreshes me at a time when humour has become rancid. Vivienne Westbrook and Shun-liang Chao return us to a lost world where humour could be good natured.”
    -Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities and English, Yale University, USA