The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay M ore Than Some Antics

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Penguin, Apr 14, 2011 - Humor - 240 pages
10 Reviews
A former word pun champion's funny, erudite, and provocative exploration of puns, the people who make them, and this derided wordplay's remarkable impact on history.

The pun is commonly dismissed as the lowest form of wit, and punsters are often unpopular for their obsessive wordplay. But such attitudes are relatively recent developments. In The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack-a former World Pun Champion and presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton-explains why such wordplay is significant: It both revolutionized language and played a pivotal role in making the modern world possible. Skillfully weaving together stories and evidence from history, brain science, pop culture, literature, anthropology, and humor, The Pun Also Rises is an authoritative yet playful exploration of a practice that is common, in one form or another, to virtually every language on earth.

At once entertaining and educational, this engaging book answers fundamental questions: Just what is a pun, and why do people make them? How did punning impact the development of human language, and how did that drive creativity and progress? And why, after centuries of decline, does the pun still matter?

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

In The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack argues, "Undoubtedly, the most stubborn critics of the pun will probably never concede its catalytic, creative importance...But those who declaim puns categorically ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - maximnoronha - LibraryThing

It reads like an overlong essay justifying punning as an activity. After a while it got boring, to be honest. There is a bit of linguistic history that I might have found interesting, had I been ... Read full review

Contents

BOMBSHELLS
TANGLED ROOTS
DEFINITIONS
FRIENDS ROMANS COMEDIANS
RUFFLED FEATHERS
GETTING A SOUND EDUCATION
AN EDUCATED GUESS
GO FIGURE
A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
GETTING THE LAST LAUGH
JEWISH WRY
TO GROAN OR NOT TO GROAN
THE COMEBACK
BOGGLING POSSIBILITIES
MANY SMALL STEPS AND ONE MAMMOTH LEAP
BABBLE ON

EVOLUTION AND ELOCUTION
OF NORMS AND NORMANS
OF PARASITES PLAYWRIGHTS AND PUNS
TORTURED ENGLISH
GROUNDS FOR DISPUTE
A SWIFT RESPONSE
JOHNSONS DICTIONARY
LETTER RIP
EPIGRAPH
CHAPTER 2
CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 4
CHAPTER 5
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

John Pollack, former presidential speechwriter, won the 1995 O. Henry World Championship Pun-Off. His previous books include Cork Boat and The World on a String: How to Become a Freelance Foreign Correspondent. He lives in New York City.

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