This book investigates the clash between social uniformity and personal anomalies as a key to understanding the functions of laughter in four major Italian authors from the early twentieth century, highlighting some essential differences between traditional realism and modernism.
Introduction: Laughter, Modernism, and Originality 1. Laughter and Originality: From Sterne to Pirandello 2. Umorismo and Madness: Pirandello's Originals 3. Violence, Bad Faith, and Hypocrisy: Truth and Deception in Svevo's Laughter 4. Celebrations of Diversity: Palazzeschi's Buffi and the Nineteenth-Century Tradition 5. The Stupidity of the World': Satire and Common Nonsense in Gadda's Fiction 6. Conclusion: Italian Modernism and the Fear of Uniformity