Satirist William Hone is the forgotten hero of the British press. In 1817 he was forced to defend himself against a censorious government, in what amounted to a show trial pitting a self-educated Fleet Street journalist against the Lord Chief Justice and a hand-picked jury. Hone's crime was to ridicule the powers that be. Through Hone's life, Ben Wilson looks at the history of the struggle for free expression against repressive law.
The rich man’s children ate their good food and grew thinner and more peaked. The Bulosans, next door, went on eating their poor and meagre food, laughed, and grew fat. So the rich man sued Father Bulosan for stealing the spirit of his food. And Father paid him in his own coin, while the laughter of the Bulosans and the judge drove the rich man’s family out of the courtroom. The Bulosans lived in Binalonan, in the Philippine province of Pangasinan. But the episodes of Father’s history that his son Carlos retells belong to universal and timeless comedy. No one can remain unmoved by Father’s excursions into politics, cock-fighting, violin-playing, or the concoction of love-potions. Twenty-four such stories make up the rich and funny collection called The Laughter of My Father. “In the winter of 1939, when I was out of work, I went to San Pedro, California, and stood in the rain for hours with hundreds of men and women hoping to get a place at the fish canneries. To forget the monotony of waiting, I started to write the title story. It was finished when I reached the gate, but the cold hours that followed made me forget many things. “In November, 1942, when there was too much pain and tragedy in the world, I found the story in my hat. I sent it to The New Yorker, a magazine I had not read before, and in three weeks a letter came. ‘Tell us some more about the Filipinos,’ it said. I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ “I wrote about everything that I could remember about my town Binalonan, in the province of Pangasinan. I received letters from my countrymen telling me that I wrote about them and their towns. It came to me that in writing the story of my town, I was actually depicting the life of the peasantry in the Philippines. “These stories and 18 others are now gathered in this volume. For the first time the Filipino people are depicted as human beings. I hope you will enjoy reading about them.”—Carlos Bulosan
Parodies of Holiness in Late Medieval and Renaissance Spain
Author: Ryan D. Giles
Pubpsher: University of Toronto Press
Between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries in Spain, a large number of parodic works were produced that featured depictions of humourous, satirical, and comical saints. The Laughter of the Saints examines this rich carnivalesque tradition of parodied holy men and women and traces their influence to the anti-heroes and picaresque roots of early modern novels such as Don Quixote. The first full-length treatment of the ways in which Spanish writers imitated religious depictions of saints' lives for comic purposes, Ryan D. Giles' erudite study explores the inversion of oaths, invocations, pious legends, and liturgical devotions. Analyzing a variety of texts from Libro de buen amor, to later works such as the Celestina, Carajicomedia, Lozana andaluza, and Lazarillo de Tormes, Giles not only sheds light on Golden Age Spanish literature, but also on the origins of the comic novel. A well-argued and convincing work, The Laughter of the Saints reveals the uproarious results of the collision of official and unofficial methods of storytelling.
The Roman civil war has come to its conclusion – Pompey is dead, Egypt is firmly under the control of Cleopatra (with the help of Rome's legions), and for the first time in many years Julius Caesar has returned to Rome itself. Appointed by the Senate as Dictator, the city abounds with rumors asserting that Caesar wishes to be made King – the first such that Rome has had in centuries. And that not all of his opposition has been crushed. Gordianus, recently returned from Egypt with his wife Bethesda, is essentially retired from his previous profession of ‘Finder' but even he cannot refuse the call of Calpurnia, Caesar's wife. Troubled by dreams foretelling disaster and fearing a conspiracy against the life of Caesar, she had hired someone to investigate the rumors. But that person, a close friend of Gordianus, has just turned up dead – murdered -- on her doorstep. With four successive Triumphs for Caesar's military victories scheduled for the coming days, and Caesar more exposed to danger than ever before, Calpurnia wants Gordianus to uncover the truth behind the rumored conspiracies -- to protect Caesar's life, before it is too late. No fan of Caesar's, Gordianus agrees to help – but only to find the murderer who killed his friend. But once an investigation is begun, there's no controlling what it will turn up, who it will put in danger, and where it will end.
"There has never been a time in Western history that humor and laughter were not topics of intellectual debate and interest. That is still true. John Morreall's broad-ranging concerns in Taking Laughter Seriouslymake it a book that will interest those in the social and behavioral sciences, philosophy, English literature and criticism, drama, and folklore. Morreall has done an admirable job of analyzing earlier theories. His discussions of humor as aesthetic experience, social lubricant, and valuable human feature are original and provocative." -- Jeffrey H. Goldstein, Professor of Psychology, Temple University "The attempt at providing a theoretical framework which will include all forms of laughter and humor and will accommodate the main types of theories previously advanced, is the principal thrust and success ofTaking Laughter Seriously. The topic is important and is one which philosophers have tended to ignore, as have most disciplines. It needs periodic philosophical reflection. The book is clearly written, well organized, and well illustrated. Morreall's style, sometimes almost conversational, fits the subject matter. One would hope that a book on laughter and humor, even a scholarly one, would not be so ponderous and officious that it evidenced little relationship to its announced topic. Taking Laughter Seriously avoids that contradiction and strikes a good balance." -- Conrad Hyers, Professor of Religion, Gustavus Adolphus College, author of The Comic Vision and the Christian Faith. "The book's qualities are, first, its scope and persuasiveness. The whole book demonstrates the seriousness of humor and its central place in human life. I know of no comparable work. The second quality of Taking Laughter Seriously is its clarity and its engaging style. It knocks out previous theories of laughter (including Freud's) and replaces them with a comprehensive one of its own. It is bloody funny. It will be enjoyed by philosophers, psychologists, teachers, and anyone who can read." -- G. J. Barker-Benfield, Associate Professor of History, State University of New York at Albany