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Wholesome fun for all the family. (Christopher Hitchens)
Small, witty, and delightful...a worthy successor to Harry Frankfurt's brilliant On Bullshit. (Simon Blackburn The New York Sun)
Explodes the myth that the high and low brow are more than a couple of inches apart....Seriously funny stuff. (Colin McGinn, author of The Making of a Philosopher)
Fast-moving, idiosyncratic...a stocking-stuffer. (The New York Times Book Review)
Finally, I understand what it is I've been laughing at for all these years. (Jimmy Kimmel)
Jim Holt manages here to be deadly serious and perfectly hilarious at the same time. (Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the US)
This excellent little book will be my Christmas present (Guy Browning)
Viewed through Holt's complex, concise lens, the joke comes off as a contender for humankind's most profound mode of expression. (Elle)
Holt...takes in so much about the history and philosophy of joke-telling in his concise and amiable conspectus of the subject. (The Wall Street Journal)
Jim Holt riffs in Stop Me If You've Heard This. (Vanity Fair)
A priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into bar. 'What is this', the barman says, 'some kind of joke?'
As he laughs his way though the history of jokes, Jim Holt discovers that most of those we trade are actually hundreds of years old: Palamedes, a Greek hero of the Trojan War, is credited with inventing the joke (before being stoned to death) and it was Philip the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC who paid to have the first joke book compiled. In describing how they've changed over time (one of the funniest things to ancient audiences was lettuce), we come across not only the oldest but the rudest, the shortest and, allegedly, the funniest.
And why do we laugh at these jokes? Holt explores the various theories: for Freud, laughter liberates us from forbidden thoughts and feelings. For Plato, we feel a sudden glory when see, say, someone tripping on a banana-skin. For Kant, we laugh when the logical dissolves into the absurd. Holt also discusses a new way of combining these theories (and looks at those who don't laugh at all - Isaac Newton laughed only once in his life, and Jesus might have wept, but did he laugh?).
As for where do jokes come from, one theory is that they're made up by prisoners who have a lot of spare time, and a captive audience...
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Descripción Profile Books, 2008. the first book to trace the evolution of the joke, from the stand-up comics of ancient Athens to the jesters of the Renaissance and the comedy clubs of today. A small hardback illustrated in black and white. Fine condition in very good dust jacket. 141 pages. Nº de ref. del artículo: 11395
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