New PDF release: A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture

By Nancy A. Walker

ISBN-10: 0816617023

ISBN-13: 9780816617029

A Very severe factor was first released in 1988. Minnesota Archive versions makes use of electronic know-how to make long-unavailable books once more obtainable, and are released unaltered from the unique collage of Minnesota Press editions.

"It is a really critical factor to be a humorous woman." –Frances Miriam Berry Whitcher

A Very critical Thing is the 1st book-length examine of part of American literature that has been continuously missed by way of students and underrepresented in anthologies—American women's funny writing. Nancy Walker proposes that the yankee funny culture to be redefined to incorporate women's humor in addition to men's, simply because, opposite to well known opinion, girls do have a feeling of humor.

Her publication attracts on historical past, sociology, anthropology, literature, and psychology to posit that the explanations for forget of women's funny expression are rooted in a male-dominated tradition that has formally denied girls the liberty and self-confidence necessary to the stand-up comedian. instead of a research of person writers, the e-book is an exploration of relationships among cultural realities—including expectancies of "true womanhood"—and women's funny reaction to these realities.

Humorous expression, Walker keeps, is at odds with the culturally sanctioned excellent of the "lady," and masses of women's humor turns out to just accept, whereas really denying, this excellent. in reality, so much of yank women's funny writing has been a feminist critique of yank tradition and its attitudes towards ladies, in line with the author.

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Additional info for A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture

Example text

In Humor and Laughter, Apte devotes a chapter to "Sexual Inequality in Humor" in which he proposes that in virtually every human culture, women's participation in humor is severely curtailed: . . women's humor reflects the existing inequality between the sexes not so much in its substance as in the constraints imposed upon its occurrence, on the techniques used, on the social settings in which it occurs, and on the kind of audience that appreciates it. [In general] these constraints . . stem from the prevalent cultural values that emphasize male superiority and dominance together with female passivity and create role models for women in keeping with such values and attitudes...

Finally, when her husband says while she is in labor, "I know just how you feel," her anger erupts: My only answer was a word which certainly I knew that I knew, although I had never honestly expected to hear it spoken in my own ladylike voice. Her husband's response is to ask her to stop using the word, whereupon she says coolly, "Who is doing this? . " But the message is clear: the culture Jackson describes does not value women's professional lives, and it both fears and trivializes childbirth.

For indulging in this propensity, I was scolded at home, and wept over and prayed with, by certain well-meaning old maids in the neighborhood; but all to no purpose, (xiii-xiv) The only result of these efforts to suppress Whitcher's satiric bent was to encourage it: the young Miriam, as she was called, drew charcoal sketches (presumably caricatures) of these women who, as Huck Finn would say, tried to "sivilize" her, and pinned them to their shawls, "with, perhaps, a descriptive verse below" (xiv).

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A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture by Nancy A. Walker


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