Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Vicki K. Janik; Emmanuel S. Nelson | Go to book overview

Clowns of the Hopi

(American Southwest: Pre-Columbian -- Present)

Elizabeth Hoffman Nelson


BACKGROUND

The Pueblo people of the American Southwest are a group of distinct Native American nations who have "a well-developed clown system" ( Wright 1). There are six separate linguistic groups represented in over thirty villages in New Mexico and Arizona. They include the Tiwan pueblos of Taos, Sandia, Picuris, and Isleta; the Tewa pueblos of Santa Clara, San Juan, San Ildefonso, Nambe, and Tesuque; the Keresan pueblos of Cochiti, Santo Domingo, Santa Ana, Zia, Acoma, and Laguna; the Towan pueblo of Jemez; the Zuni pueblo; and the Shoshonean Hopi (1-2). Each village has sacred clowns who perform in traditional ceremonies throughout the year. Roles differ depending on the pueblo and type of clown.

Hopi clowns act as a catharsis for audiences during solemn ceremonies; they can also intensify that seriousness through their contrasting behavior. Clowns can divert the power of evil witches. Hopi clowns also target nonconformists in the village by mocking their conduct. Their mockery targets such issues within the village as marital problems, political struggles, land disputes, or occurrences in the surrounding Anglo communities. No one in the pueblo is immune to such ridicule. "The result is that the clown is the ultimate keeper of tradition. . . . All of their humor, however, is designed to ridicule unseemly actions and to bring about uniformity of behavior by presenting life as it should not be lived" ( Wright 3-4).

The Hopi believe that the Underworld is the antithesis of this world (the Upper World). Seasons, beauty, everything is reversed there. Hopi clowns mirror

-250-

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Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 20
  • Woody Allen - The Clown as Tragic Hero 25
  • The Anthropology of Fools 33
  • Notes 39
  • Robert Armin 41
  • Notes 48
  • Archy Armstrong 50
  • The Badin 55
  • Lucille Ball 62
  • Jean-Louls Barrault 71
  • Critical Reception 77
  • Beckett's Postmodern Clowns - Vladimir (Didi), Estragon (Gogo), Pozzo, and Lucky 79
  • Jack Benny 85
  • Birbal 91
  • Selected Bibliographv 96
  • The Bishop of Fools 97
  • Note 104
  • George Burns and Gracie Allen the Jewish Vaudeville Tradition 106
  • The Camp 113
  • Canio-Pagliacco and Petrouchka - Two Contrasting Images of Pierrot 120
  • Charlie Chaplin 127
  • The American Circus Clown 136
  • Commedia Dell'Arte 146
  • Selected Bibliograph 153
  • Native American Coyote Trickster Tales and Cycles 155
  • Notes 164
  • The Drag Queen 169
  • Sir John Falstaff 176
  • Feste 185
  • W. C. Fields 194
  • Folly in the Enduring Tradition 198
  • The Fop - Apes and Echoes of Men": Gentlemanly Ideals and the Restoration 207
  • Notes 212
  • Gimpel 215
  • Joseph Grimaldi 220
  • Notes 224
  • Forrest Gump - Innocent Fool 226
  • Hamlet 231
  • Hephaestus, Hermes, and Prometheus - Jesters to the Gods 237
  • Note 245
  • The Heyoka of the Sioux 246
  • Clowns of the Hopi 250
  • Selected Bibiliography 253
  • Knaves and Fools in Ben Jonson 254
  • Buster Keaton 265
  • William Kemp 273
  • Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy Yin and Yang 281
  • Lear's Fool - (England: in William Shakespeare's King Lear: 1605 289
  • Loki, the Norse Fool 295
  • The Marx Brothers 298
  • Notes 306
  • Selecteid Bibliograpy 306
  • Merry Report 308
  • Paul the Apostle 316
  • Notes 325
  • Penasar of Bali - Sacred Clowns 329
  • Note 335
  • Pierrot - Dramatic and Literary Mask 336
  • Plautus's Clowns 343
  • Puck/Robin Goodfellow 351
  • Punch and Judy 363
  • FrançOis Rabelais 370
  • Martha Raye 376
  • Rigoletto 382
  • Schlemiels and Schlimazels 388
  • The Sleary Circus 395
  • Socrates as Fool in Aristophanes and Plato 400
  • Note 404
  • Will Sommers 406
  • The Sottie, the Sots, and the Fols 411
  • South African Political Clowning Laughter and Resistance to Apartheid 419
  • Ciritical Reception 427
  • Country Squires and Bumpkins 428
  • Selected Bibliographv 436
  • The Three Stooges 438
  • Taishu Engeki - Subverting the Patterns of Japanese Culture 445
  • Note 452
  • The Tarot Fool 453
  • The Tarot Fool in English and American Novels 459
  • Touchstone 466
  • The Vice Figure in Middle English Morality Plays 471
  • The Vice in Henry Medwall's Nature 485
  • Mae West 494
  • The Yankee 500
  • Zanni 508
  • Critical Reception 512
  • Selected General Bibliography 513
  • Index 521
  • About the Editor and Contributors 545
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