Punch and Judy

Punch and Judy, famous English puppet play, very popular with children and given widely by strolling puppet players, especially during the Christmas season. It came to England in the 17th cent. by way of France from Italy and developed out of the commedia dell'arte character, Pulcinella. To this traditional figure of the Italian comedy were added aspects of the medieval English fool. Punch, a hunchback, with a hooked nose and chin and a pot belly, was the cruel and boastful husband of a nagging wife, Judy, whom he often beat and in many versions killed. The language of the play is coarse and often satirical. The text was first written down and printed by J. P. Collier in 1827.

See G. Baker's Playing With Punch (1944); P. Fraser, Punch and Judy (1970).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Vicki K. Janik; Emmanuel S. Nelson.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Punch and Judy" begins on p. 363
FREE! A Book about the Theater
Brander Matthews.
C. Scribner's Sons, 1916
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XVI "The Lamentable Tragedy of Punch and Judy"
Festive Revolutions: The Politics of Popular Theater and the San Francisco Mime Troupe
Claudia Orenstein.
University Press of Mississippi, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "From Pulcinella to Punch the Red"
FREE! The History of "Punch"
M. H. Spielmann.
Cassell and Company, 1895
The Best Cartoons from Punch: Collected for Americans from England's Famous Humorous Weekly
Marvin Rosenberg; William Cole.
Simon and Schuster, 1952
Preposterous Violence: Fables of Aggression in Modern Culture
James B. Twitchell.
Oxford University Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Punch and Judy begins on p. 75
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