National Styles of Humor

National Styles of Humor

National Styles of Humor

National Styles of Humor

Synopsis

This volume represents a first in its analysis of historical trends in the humor of eight Western countries. For each the authors surveyed and assessed the national humor in a way designed to facilitate comparative study. Each essay details the historical development of national humor with an emphasis on the 20th century and contemporary trends. The survey includes traditional and popular forms of humor as well as humor in literature, the performing and visual arts, and the mass media. A bibliography suggesting materials for further study completes each chapter

Excerpt

Humor and laughter make life more bearable, sometimes even enjoyable.

L. Weiss "Philosophie et vie" (1951)

Humor and the physiological response to it, laughter, are universal. As Rabelais is quoted in the article on French humor: "Laughter is what characterizes man." While laughter, the main response to humor, can be defined, measured and described, humor itself is an elusive concept. As with many psychological concepts, precise definitions are impossible. If you are asked to think about and name someone who has humor and someone who doesn't, you can do it easily. But when you try to define humor, it becomes much more difficult. For a scholarly example about the difficulties inherent in definitions, one can read the article in which Robert Miles tried to define the concept definition. He arrived at twelve perfectly valid definitions of the term (1957).

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