Mirth Making: The Rhetorical Discourse on Jesting in Early Modern England
Univ of South Carolina Press, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 230 pages
MIRTH MAKING examines the complex and often contradictory ways in which writers of rhetoric and courtesy manuals during the English Renaissance counseled their readers on the powers and hazards of jesting. Shedding light on a subject largely neglected by contemporary scholars, Holcomb's pathbreaking study demonstrates how such humor-related advice points to and participates in broader cultural phenomena - most notably the era's increase in social and geographic mobility and the contest between authority and subversion. Describing the English Renaissance as a brief but crucial phase in the history of jesting discourse, Holcomb differentiates humor-related counsel of the period from that of classical and medieval sources by its focus on communication between people of different stations. Holcomb shows that, in a changing society, handbook writers presented jesting as a socially conservative force and suggests that with a well-placed jest or quip, an orator might enhance his status and persuasive power or shame and ridicule those beneath him. Holcomb also recognizes, however, that rhetoricians confronted significant challenges as they sought to capture, explain, and teach a strategy b
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
According addition allows ambiguity anecdote appear attention audience become behavior better body buffoon calls Castiglione cause character Cicero claims classical comic communication conversation court courtier courtly decorum define deformity delight delivered discourse discussion distinctions early modern effect England English epigrams example exchange expression fail figures handbooks hear humor important inferior instance interpretation invention involve issue jesting joke keep kinds king laugh laughter least listeners manuals matter means merry mind nature object offers opponent orator oratore participants particular passage performance perhaps period person play pleasure possibility practice preachers present pulpit Quintilian reason references relations remark response rhetorical says seems seen sermons servant serve similar situation social sources speak speaker speech stage status stories strategies subject matter suggests superior tell theory things Thomas tion topics turn Wilson witty writers