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The Funniest Pages

International Perspectives on Humor in Journalism


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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← viii | ix →Contributors


Nicholas Brownlees is Professor of English Language at the University of Florence. He is the co-compiler of the Florence Early English Newspapers Corpus ( and has written extensively on news discourse in the early modern era. He is the author of The Language of Periodical News in Seventeenth Century England (2014, second edition) and editor of News Discourse in Early Modern Britain (2006). He is founder of the CHINED series of conferences on historical news discourse ( CHINED conferences have been held in Florence (2004), Zurich (2007), Rostock (2012), Helsinki (2014) and Porto (2015).

Antonio Castillo is a Latin American journalist and academic. He is the Director of Journalism at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Melbourne, Australia. Apart from his scholarly work, he is a working journalist who has covered major international events, such as the peace process in Sri Lanka, the ‘Arab Spring’ and the civil war in Colombia.

Mary M. Cronin is an Associate Professor of Journalism at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. She is the co-author of one textbook, The Mass Media: Invention, Development, Application and Impact (Dubuque: Great River Technologies, 2014); one monograph, ‘The Liberty to Argue Freely: Nineteenth-Century Obscenity Prosecutions and the Emergence of Modern ← ix | x →Libertarian Free Speech Discourse,’ Journalism and Communication Monographs (2006); and numerous scholarly journal articles, most of which focus on nineteenth-century media history issues. She teaches media law, media history, and print journalism courses at NMSU....

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