American Humor by Arthur Power Dudden

By Arthur Power Dudden

The paramount query spoke back 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 of the yankee Quarterly, those essays take an in depth examine American humor from progressive occasions to the current day, and especially concentrate on the ignored tendencies of the earlier fifty years. taking a look at American comedian figures as diverse--and even surprising--as Mark Twain and Richard Nixon, at quite a few autos for American humor reminiscent of comedian strips, radio and tv, video clips, and standup comedians, and at assorted genres of humor together with political, ethnic, and feminist humor, this publication brings a full of life new standpoint to the research of yankee tradition.

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Perhaps he also had in mind the strident indictments that appeared in Following the Equator (1897). He had omitted humor to a dismal extent in "A Dog's Tale" (1903), "The Czar's Soliloquy" (1905), and What is Man? (which would be circulated in August 1906). Yet for many years most critics have taken Twain's self-analysis at face-value, principally because of his prestigious ranking in American humor; he is unquestionably preeminent among the humorists whom he names and dismisses. Also, the fervent tone of his professed dedication to "preaching" allays the inclination to look behind his words.

It was a way for the writer to free himself from the dominant literary conventions. . "14 It is true that Mark Twain was one of the few humorists to avail himself of the awesome sales apparatus of the subscription-canvassing method. Yet this in itself cannot entirely account for why George Ade's clever fables and stories—even the marvelous "Dubley, '89," that amusing account of an alumnus's inappropriate speech at a dinner of the Beverly alumni—are practically forgotten today, along with the humorous productions of scores of other literary comedians like Petroleum V.

Why, they named it after Congress itself"). See The Gilded Age, ch. 27. 22 Peter M. Briggs often for its positive values to historical ideals, not abstract ones, and most of history, both literary and civic, was an ocean away, as far as Americans were concerned. This oceanic remove from history does not necessarily eliminate the possibility of historical resonance in satire or elsewhere, but it makes any such resonance a much more distant one. 29 Americans in 1776 or 1789 were much more in the position of discovering and asserting that their culture had a true center, a coherence, an order, a teleology—and to such labors a satirist need not apply.

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