Edited By Magda Stroinska, Vikki Cecchetto and Kate Szymanski
The Functions of Humor and Laughter in Narrating Trauma in German Literature of the First World War
The chapter discusses the manifestations and functions of humor and laughter in two of the most popular and influential German novels written in the Weimar era (1919–1933): Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front (first published in 1929) and Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel (first edition in 1920). The investigation of humor and laughter in the narratives focuses on their function as a vehicle for communicating traumatic events to non-combatant audiences and establishing popular images of the conflict, as well as their function of acknowledging and expressing the incongruity that accompanies a traumatic experience. In addition, humor and laughter in the two works are depicted as a social device that allows the establishment of a community united by shared laughter at something or someone, or stresses group solidarity.
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