Download PDF by Nancy A. Walker: 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 variations makes use of electronic expertise to make long-unavailable books once more available, and are released unaltered from the unique collage of Minnesota Press editions.

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

A Very severe Thing is the 1st book-length examine of part of American literature that has been continuously overlooked via students and underrepresented in anthologies—American women's funny writing. Nancy Walker proposes that the yank funny culture to be redefined to incorporate women's humor in addition to men's, simply because, opposite to renowned opinion, ladies do have a feeling of humor.

Her booklet attracts on background, sociology, anthropology, literature, and psychology to posit that the explanations for overlook 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 learn of person writers, the publication is an exploration of relationships among cultural realities—including expectancies of "true womanhood"—and women's funny reaction to these realities.

Humorous expression, Walker continues, is at odds with the culturally sanctioned excellent of the "lady," and masses of women's humor turns out to just accept, whereas truly denying, this perfect. in reality, such a lot of yank women's funny writing has been a feminist critique of yankee tradition and its attitudes towards girls, in line with the author.

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

Sample text

As corollary to this point, the audience for women's humor, as has also been true of women's literature generally, is primarily other women. "27 Put simply, men have increasingly found her work amusing and relevant because they understand what she is writing about. 29 The Female Humorist in America The fact that for so long most men did not understand in any truly personal way what female humorists were writing about may go a long way toward explaining why women's humor has been consistently under-represented in anthologies and in studies of American humor.

Cried the Celebrated Scientist. "It is Hard Enough for Me to act Thus, and I am Forced to in Order to be Consistent. 31 This fable turns on the traditional images of man as rational, scientific, and "consistent," and woman as charitable and sympathetic. The woman in the fable attempts to adopt the "masculine" characteristics of intellectuality and logic, and is found "disgusting" by the man. The most telling part of the fable is the man's admission that he finds it difficult to be "consistent" in his professional and personal views— he, too, is a victim of cultural conditioning.

Even the titles of women's humorous works suggest their separation from the dominant culture and their discomfort with their lives and relationships—Edna St. Vincent Millay's Distressing Dialogues; Erma Bombeck's newspaper column and her first book At Wit's End; Shirley Jackson's Life Among the Savages. Dorothy Parker suggests the double text of her collected sketches and stories with the punning title Here Lies (1939). " The publication of Bloomingdale's Sense and Momsense, touted on the dust jacket as embodying "the ability to laugh at marriage and family foibles—after learning how to survive it all," as late as 1986 suggests that the genre of domestic humor that began in the early nineteenth century still performs an important function for its readers.

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


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