Comic Effects

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Humor in Literature

By Paul Lewis

Subjects: Literary Criticism
Paperback : 9780791400234, 179 pages, August 1989
Hardcover : 9780791400227, 179 pages, August 1989

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Table of contents


1. Humor Criticism and Humor Research
2. The Politics of Comedy and the Social Functions of Humor
3. Humor and Maturation in Fictions of Development
4. Humor and Fear in the Gothic



Lewis draws on both humor theories and research, arguing for the development of interdisciplinary methodologies in the study of literary humor. He demonstrates that the sociologist of humor and the comic playwright approach the same subject—humor in and between groups—with different tools, that writers of Bildungsromane and developmental psychologists share a common interest in the role of humor in maturation, and that the monsters that haunt the psyches of professional comedians can be useful in understanding the odd minglings of humor and fear in Gothic fiction. His treatment of writers who differ widely in their use of humor suggests that the complexity and diversity of humor make it a richly variable determinant of character, genre, and writer.

Paul Lewis is Associate Professor of English at Boston College.


"Comic Effects will be lauded in the academic journals as a salient contribution to the study of humor. " — Joseph Boskin, Boston University