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The Funniest Pages

International Perspectives on Humor in Journalism

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Edited By David Swick and Richard Lance Keeble

Charles Dickens, celebrated novelist and journalist, believed that his greatest ability as a writer was to make people laugh. Yet, to date, humor has been strangely marginalized in journalism, communication and media studies.
This innovative book draws together the work of seventeen writers to show that, starting in the 1640s during the English Civil War, and continuing through to the present time, humor has indeed been an important ingredient of journalism. Countries studied include Australia, Britain, Canada, Chile and the United States. The Funniest Pages is divided into four sections: «Seriously Funny, From Past to Present,» «Unsolemn Columnists,» «This Sporting Life» and a final section, «Have Mouse, Will Laugh,» which looks at humor in online journalism. Chapters examine Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and the birth of social and political satire; Allen Ginsberg, Mad magazine, and the culture wars of the 1950s; John Clarke and the power of satire in journalism, and more.
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About the book

About the book

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Charles Dickens, celebrated novelist and journalist, believed that his greatest ability as a writer was to make people laugh. Yet, to date, humor has been strangely marginalized in journalism, communication and media studies.

This innovative book draws together the work of seventeen writers to show that, starting in the 1640s during the English Civil War, and continuing through to the present time, humor has indeed been an important ingredient of journalism. Countries studied include Australia, Britain, Canada, Chile and the United States. The Funniest Pages is divided into four sections: ‘Seriously Funny, From Past to Present,’ ‘Unsolemn Columnists,’ ‘This Sporting Life’ and a final section, ‘Have Mouse, Will Laugh,’ which looks at humor in online journalism. Chapters examine Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and the birth of social and political satire; Allen Ginsberg, Mad magazine, and the culture wars of the 1950s; John Clarke and the power of satire in journalism, and more.

“David Swick and Richard Lance Keeble have produced the definitive scholarly anthology on the varied uses of humor in the journalist’s arsenal. Starting in the mid-17th century and ending with an essay on Twitter, they have enlisted 17 superb scholars from seven countries to examine the sociocultural roles of wit/comedy/mirth/hilarity/satire/absurdity/whatever in journalism. Though certainly a pleasure to read, rest assured: it is no joking matter.” —David Abrahamson, Professor of Journalism and Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, The Medill School, Northwestern University

“In their zeal to...

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