Thursday, 21 July 2011

Hunchback Cruelty and Laughter

If you thought that the hunchback narrative started in the nineteenth century with Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame, or with film in the twentieth century - think again!

With a Chapter on Hunchback narratives, see the New Book by Simon Dickie: Cruelty and Laughter: Forgotten Comic Literature and the Unsentimental Eighteenth Century  University of Chicago Press  (November 2011)

Publisher's Notice:
"Eighteenth-century British culture is often seen as polite and sentimental—the product of an emerging middle class. Simon Dickie contests these assumptions in Cruelty and Laughter, a wildly enjoyable but shocking plunge into the forgotten comic literature of the age. Beneath the veneer of Enlightenment civility, Dickie uncovers a rich strain of cruel humor that forces us to recognize just how slowly ordinary sufferings became worthy of sympathy.
Delving into an enormous archive of jestbooks, comic periodicals, farces, variety shows, and minor comic novels, Dickie discovers a bottomless repository of jokes about cripples, blind men, rape, and wife-beating. He also finds epigrams about scurvy and one-act farces about hunchbacks in love, powerful proofs of the limits of compassion in the period. Everyone—rich and poor, women as well as men—laughed along. In the process, Dickie expands our understanding of many of the century’s major authors, including Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Tobias Smollett, Frances Burney, and Jane Austen. Cruelty and Laughter is an engaging, far-reaching study of the other side of culture in eighteenth-century Britain."


Introduction: The Unsentimental Eighteenth Century, 1740–70

1  Jestbooks and the Indifference to Reform      
Nasty Jokes, Polite Women      
How to Be a Wag

2  Cripples, Hunchbacks, and the Limits of Sympathy      
Dancing Cripples and the London Stage      
Streets and Coffeehouses      
Poetry and Polite Letters      
Damaged Lives      
Disabled Bodies and the Inevitability of Laughter

3  Delights of Privilege      
Laughing at the Lower Orders      
Contexts from Social History      
Frolics, High Jinks, and Violent Freedoms      
Lovelace at the Haberdasher   

Joseph Andrews and the Great Laughter Debate      
Narrative from a High Horse      
The Ethics of Ridicule      
Fielding’s Problem with Parsons 

5  Rape Jokes and the Law      
Laughter and Disbelief      
Modesty and the Impossibility of Consent      
Functions of an Assault      
Accusing, Making Up, and the Local Magistrate      
Humors of the Old Bailey

In Conclusion: The Forgotten Best-Sellers of Early English Fiction      
Ramble Novels and Slum Comedy      
Reading for the Filler      

Blog 12/1000

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