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History of English Humour, Vol. 1 With an Introduction upon Ancient Humour   By: (1832-1915)

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In "History of English Humour, Vol. 1 With an Introduction upon Ancient Humour," Alfred G. K. L'Estrange takes readers on a delightful journey through the evolution of humor in English literature. With his insightful introduction, L'Estrange sets the stage for a comprehensive exploration of humor throughout the ages, offering a rich understanding of its development and significance in English society.

One of the book's strengths lies in L'Estrange's meticulous research, seamlessly blending historical and literary analysis to provide a comprehensive overview. He takes readers on a chronological tour, starting with ancient humor from Greek and Roman times, before moving on to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. By incorporating examples from a diverse array of works, L'Estrange showcases the nuances and variations of humor across different literary periods.

In each chapter, L'Estrange skillfully dissects various comedic elements, including wordplay, satire, and irony, to highlight their effectiveness and evolution over time. He showcases prominent figures such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson, analyzing their comedic creations and situating them within the broader context of their respective eras.

Despite its academic nature, the book remains accessible and engaging throughout. L'Estrange's writing style is both informative and entertaining, adopting a light-hearted tone that complements the subject matter perfectly. His witty observations and aptly chosen anecdotes help to further illustrate and enliven his analysis, making the historical exploration an enjoyable experience for readers.

Moreover, L'Estrange's impressive breadth of knowledge is evident as he includes lesser-known authors and works alongside more renowned ones. This inclusivity provides a well-rounded perspective, shedding light on humorous gems that might otherwise remain overlooked. By doing so, he ensures that readers are exposed to a wide range of comic styles and influences, creating a comprehensive portrait of English humor throughout history.

That said, it is worth noting that at times, the book may feel slightly dense and overwhelming. L'Estrange's thorough analysis can occasionally become too detailed, and some readers may find certain sections more challenging to digest. Nevertheless, these instances are few and far between, and overall, the book remains a captivating and informative read.

"History of English Humour, Vol. 1 With an Introduction upon Ancient Humour" is an essential resource for anyone interested in the history of humor in English literature. L'Estrange's comprehensive exploration of comedic styles, from ancient Greece to the Renaissance, provides readers with a nuanced understanding of its significance and development throughout the ages. Engaging and informative, this book is a must-read for both scholars and lovers of literature and comedy alike.

First Page:


With an Introduction upon Ancient Humour.



Author of "The Life of the Rev. William Harness," "From the Thames to the Tamar," Etc.

In Two Volumes.

Vol. I.

London: Hurst and Blackett, Publishers, 13, Great Marlborough Street. 1878. All rights reserved.



Subjective Character of the Ludicrous The Subject little Studied Obstacles to the Investigation Evanescence Mental Character of the Ludicrous Distinction between Humour and the Ludicrous 1




Pleasure in Humour What is Laughter? Sympathy First Phases Gradual Development Emotional Phase Laughter of Pleasure Hostile Laughter Is there any sense of the Ludicrous in the Lower Animals? Samson David Solomon Proverbs Fables 13



Birth of Humour Personalities Story of Hippocleides Origin of Comedy Archilochus Hipponax Democritus, the Laughing Philosopher Aristophanes Humour of the Senses Indelicacy Enfeeblement of the Drama Humorous Games Parasites, their Position and Jests Philoxenus Diogenes Court of Humour Riddles Silli 52

PART III... Continue reading book >>

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