Nancy A. Walker's A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture PDF

By Nancy A. Walker

A Very critical factor was first released in 1988. Minnesota Archive variants makes use of electronic know-how to make long-unavailable books once more available, and are released unaltered from the unique college of Minnesota Press editions.

"It is a really severe factor to be a humorous woman." –Frances Miriam Berry Whitcher

A Very severe Thing is the 1st book-length examine of part of American literature that has been continually missed by means of students and underrepresented in anthologies—American women's funny writing. Nancy Walker proposes that the yankee funny culture to be redefined to incorporate women's humor in addition to men's, simply because, opposite to renowned opinion, ladies do have a feeling of humor.

Her publication attracts on heritage, sociology, anthropology, literature, and psychology to posit that the explanations for overlook of women's funny expression are rooted in a male-dominated tradition that has formally denied girls the liberty and self-confidence necessary to the stand-up comedian. instead of a learn of person writers, the e-book is an exploration of relationships among cultural realities—including expectancies of "true womanhood"—and women's funny reaction to these realities.

Humorous expression, Walker keeps, is at odds with the culturally sanctioned perfect of the "lady," and masses of women's humor turns out to just accept, whereas truly denying, this perfect. in truth, such a lot of yank women's funny writing has been a feminist critique of yank tradition and its attitudes towards ladies, in keeping with the author.

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Sample text

I feel that you do not feel as I do in this matter, you do not feel that it is woman's greatest privilege, her crowning blessing, to soothe lacerations, to be a sort of poultice to the noble, manly breast when it is torn with the cares of life. —am I in the condition to be one? . What has my sect [sex] done . . 36 So the woman meets the "lady," and it becomes the task of the woman, working through the lady, to confront the culture, using humor as her weapon. 37 This page intentionally left blank 2 The Male Tradition and the Female Tradition The Truth I do not dare to know I muffle with a jest.

36 So the woman meets the "lady," and it becomes the task of the woman, working through the lady, to confront the culture, using humor as her weapon. 37 This page intentionally left blank 2 The Male Tradition and the Female Tradition The Truth I do not dare to know I muffle with a jest. —Emily Dickinson, #1715 I Despite the supposed damper of Puritanism,1 America as a nation has long been proud of its sense of humor, seeing it as evidence of a resilience and a capacity for self-criticism that accorded with the country's revolutionary origins and its rapid emergence as a world power.

But the message is clear: the culture Jackson describes does not value women's professional lives, and it both fears and trivializes childbirth. The narrator in Life Among the Savages is part of both the humorous text of the book and its underlying critique of society. IV America's female humorists have not all used the subversive tactic of the double text. During several periods in this nation's history, most notably when agitation for women's rights has been most vigorous, 34 The Female Humorist in America writers have employed a straightforward feminist stance.

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