Course Description

How did we get to be so funny? In this two-part course we'll look briefly at folktale and tall tale origins of humor in American literature. How did the flavor and subjects of our great American humorists develop from the frontier cracker barrel raconteurs to the urban wits of the Algonquin Round Table? What makes our humor American? Is American humor, no matter how hard it tries, always provincial? If so, is that the very heart of the best humor? What's language itself got to do with it? How does genial humor differ from biting wit? Is humor a pained response to hard times or a celebration of them? Finally, what's the point of humor? To show us our common humanity? To give us fresh perspectives on our times? Something else?

Read: A compilation of selections from Mark Twain, Will Rogers, James Thurber and Dorothy Parker will be available at the first session.

This course is offered with the generous support of the Association for Continuing Education.

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