Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray

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Modern Library, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 561 pages
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British writers of the 20th century have used humor in various ways throughout their works. Some writers, such as George Bernard Shaw and W. Somerset Maughm, were known for their comedies of manners. Others, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Alfred Hitchcock, wrote mystery novels infused with humorous elements. Political humor permeated the works of Sir Winston Churchill and George Orwell, while writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis combined humor with religion and myth. Many of the trends that began in the nineteenth century were continued into the twentieth, though these trends were shaped by the social conditions of the period. This reference surveys humor in British literature of the 20th century.

Included are authors who were active during the 20th century, ranging from Sir Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934) through Douglas (Noel) Adams (1952-). Each of these authors is profiled individually, with entries analyzing humor in their works and providing extensive bibliographical information. The first chapter covers includes authors born between 1855 and 1869, while each of the following chapters includes authors born during a particular decade. Within each chapter, the entries are arranged chronologically, so that the reader may trace the evolution of British literary humor over time. An index additionally allows the user to locate individual authors alphabetically.

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Trading twelves: the selected letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray

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In jazz, two musicians are said to be "trading twelves" when they trade feelings and ideas by alternating riffs of 12 bars of music. In much the same manner, Ellison and Murray, in letters written ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

DON L.F. NILSEN is Professor of English at Arizona State University and Executive Secretary of the International Society for Humor Studies. He is an officer of various humor societies and actively contributes to a number of publications. His previous books include Humor in Irish Literature: A Reference Guide (1995) and Humor in British Literature, From the Middle Ages to the Restoration: A Reference Guide (1997), both available from Greenwood Press.

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