American Humor by Arthur Power Dudden

By Arthur Power Dudden

The paramount query replied during this soaking up choice of essays is: what is so humorous approximately American humor, and why? What are American humor's features? How have they developed and displayed themselves? Which features are distinctively, or perhaps uniquely, American? initially showing as a subject matter of the yank Quarterly, those essays take an in depth examine American humor from progressive occasions to the current day, and especially specialise in the ignored developments of the earlier fifty years. taking a look at American comedian figures as diverse--and even surprising--as Mark Twain and Richard Nixon, at numerous automobiles for American humor comparable to comedian strips, radio and tv, videos, and standup comedians, and at various genres of humor together with political, ethnic, and feminist humor, this ebook brings a full of life new viewpoint to the learn of yankee tradition.

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A new Belinda floating on the Housatonic or the Quinnipiac simply could not mean what that former Belinda floating on the Thames had meant. The Thames implied an open-ended set of imaginative associations—mythical Trojans, Romans, Britons; Elizabeth I meeting Leicester, battles and treasons and trysts; poetry by Spenser, Drayton, Milton, Dryden, and a hundred others. The accumulation of these associations forms the basis of Belinda's significance, both real and imaginary. The Housatonic, on the other hand, simply implied an unknown river with a rather exotic name, and nothing that a new Belinda could say or do would much alter its imaginative associations.

375-90). 19 To a significant extent, then, the newly independent Americans were forced to laugh at their British brethren with borrowed laughter, at least in their fledgling literature, and to assert their independence with cultural forms derived from the very people against whom they rebelled. (Recall that "Yankee Doodle," which American revolutionaries enthusiastically adopted as a kind of unofficial national anthem, had earlier been a marching tune used by British soldiers. ")20 John Trumbull and his fellow Wits, like many other Americans of the revolutionary generation, were saddled with all the implicit contradictions that accompanied a successful political revolution that was not, and not even intended to be, a cultural revolution.

Press, 1978), 119. The Importance of Mark Twain 29 The most courageous inhabitants of the Alps take a particular pleasure in looking for and killing the chamois in the wilds of the highest mountains. Great courage, presence of mind and perseverance is wanted in chamois hunting. With the thick-soled shoes, the iron-tipped stick, the pointed hat, ornamented with a chamois beard, and the double-barrel rifle, the hunter starts in the evening . . to surprise the chamois at their pasturages. . Often thick fogs come up, so that he can see but a few feet ahead; or a furious tempest breaks out, that threatens to precipitate the hunter into the abyss.

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