Elliott Oring University of Illinois Press, 2002 Library of Congress PN6147.O74 2003 | Dewey Decimal 809.7
Elliott Oring asks essential questions concerning humorous expression in contemporary society, examining how humor works, why it is employed, and what its messages might be. This provocative book is filled with examples of jokes and riddles that reveal humor to be a meaningful--even significant--form of expression. Oring provides alternate ways of thinking about humorous expressions by examining their contexts--not just their contents. Engaging Humor demonstrates that when analyzed contextually and comparatively, humorous expressions emerge as communications that are startling, intriguing, and profound.
Oring's introductory folklore text consists of a series of essays by leading scholars that give the student a solid sense of major folklore topics and interpretive techniques. Since 1986, when it was first published, this book has met the need for good instructional material at a time of tremendous growth in folklore programs and introductory courses in colleges and universities around the world.
Compiled to accompany the best-selling textbook, Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: An Introduction, the selections in this anthology extend the discussion in diverse directions, alert the reader to new problems, and introduce alternative perspectives. The essays include folklore classics and recent works, and are organized in sections that correspond to the chapter headings in An Introduction.
Nothing in the understanding of humor is as simple as it might seem. In Joking Asides, Elliott Oring confronts the problems of humor, analyzing the key contemporary approaches to its study and addressing controversial topics with new empirical data and insights.
A folklorist drawn to the study of humor, Oring developed his formulation of “appropriate incongruity” as a frame to understand what jokes must do to produce humor. He tests appropriate incongruity against other major positions in the field, including the general theory of verbal humor, conceptual integration theory, benign violation theory, and false-belief theory. Oring draws on the work of scholars from several disciplines—anthropology, folklore, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and literature—to ask basic questions about the construction and evolution of jokes, untangle the matter of who the actual targets of a joke might be, and characterize the artistic qualities of jokes and joke performances.
Although Oring guides the reader through a forest of jokes and joke genres, this is not a joke book. A major work from a major scholar, Joking Asides is a rigorous exploration of theoretical approaches to jokes and their functions and is filled with disquieting questions, penetrating criticisms, and original observations. Written in a clear and accessible style, this book will prove valuable to any scholar or student who takes matters of jokes and joking seriously.