First published in 1988, the 19 original essays (and three "Sylvia" cartoons) included in this volume deal with the gender-specific nature of comedy. This pioneering collection observes the creation of women’s comedy from a wide range of standpoints: political, sociological, psychoanalytical, linguistic, and historical. The writers explore the role of women’s comedy in familiar and unfamiliar territory, from Austen to Weldon, from Behn to Wasserstein. The questions they raise will lead to a redefinition of the genre itself.
Table of Contents
Part I Sylvia Nicole Hollander Introduction Regina Barreca Who Was That Masked Woman? The Prostitute and the Playwright in the Comedies of Aphra Behn Catherine Gallagher Life After Sex: The Fictional Autobiography of Delariver Manley Janet Todd Jane Austen: Irony and Authority Rachel M. Brownstein Austen’s Laughter Patricia Meyer Spacks Deflation of Male Pretensions in Fanny Burney’s Cecelia Kay Rogers Part II Sylvia Nicole Hollander Frances Miriam Whitcher: Social Satire in the Age of Gentility Linda A. Morris Hate and Humor as Empathetic Whimsy in Anne Thackeray Ritchie Carol Hanbery MacKay Between Women: A Cross-Class Analysis of Status and Anarchic Humor Regenia Gagnier Slaying the Angel and the Patriarch: The Grinning Woolf Denise Marshall (En)gendering Laughter: Woolf’s Orlando as Contraband in the Age of Joyce Judy Little Truth-Telling: The Self and the Fictions of Humor Mary Ann Rorison Caws Part III Sylvia Nicole Hollander Ironic Autobiography: From The Waterfall to The Handmaid’s Tale, Nancy Walker Muriel Spark’s Unknowing Fiction John Glavin Metaphor-into-Narrative: Being Very Careful with Words Regina Barreca Uncommon Woman: An Interview with Wendy Wasserstein Esther Cohen Feminist Humor: Rebellious and Self-Affirming Lisa Merrill Daughters of Anger/Material Girls: Con/Textualizing Feminist Criticism Jane Marcus Towards a Humorous View of the Universe Fay Weldon. About the Contributors. Index.
Regina Barreca, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English Literature at The University of Connecticut.