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Laughing at the Darkness: Postmodernism and Optimism in American Humour (Contemporary American Literature)

Laughing at the Darkness: Postmodernism and Optimism in American Humour (Contemporary American Literature) [Kindle Edition]

Paul McDonald

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Product Description

Product Description

Paul McDonald’s book is the second in the HEB Contemporary American Literature series, edited by Christopher Gair and Aliki Varvogli.

Given that postmodernism has been associated with doubt, chaos, relativism and the disappearance of reality, it may appear difficult to reconcile with American optimism. Laughing at the Darkness demonstrates that this is not always the case. In examining the work of, among others, Sherman Alexie, Woody Allen, Douglas Coupland, Jonathan Safran Foer, Bill Hicks, David Mamet, and Philip Roth, McDonald shows how American humorists bring their comedy to bear on some of the negative implications of philosophical postmodernism and, in so doing, explore ways of reclaiming value.

CHAPTER ONE: Postmodernism, Humour and Jewish American Ethnic Identity
CHAPTER TWO: Humour and the Social Implications of Postmodernism
CHAPTER THREE: Postmodernism, Humour and American Romanticism

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 311 KB
  • Publisher: Humanities-Ebooks (3 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004MMES14
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,240,466 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Dr Paul McDonald is Course Leader for Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton. He is a novelist, poet and critic. His primary interest is humour, and he takes a perverse pleasure in the fact that Googling, 'the oldest joke in the world' throws up several hundred pages with his name on.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars combines erudition with critical flair. 13 Oct 2012
By Reader of great fiction - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I am midway through my doctorate in contemporary American literature and found this book of great value. McDonald offers original, sharp readings, not only of the likes of Woody Allen, Douglas Coupland, and Bill Hicks, but also of texts you wouldn't ordinarily associate with comedy: he convincingly argues that humour is a central theme in ostensibly humourless works such as David Mamet's Oleanna and, not least, the terminally glum songs of Nirvana! Surely there must of some kind of award for such critical ingenuity? What is particularly useful is his accessible style, particularly when it comes to the notoriously abstruse and elusive concept of postmodernism. The introduction to this book offers one of the most lucid overviews of the subject available. McDonald - a well-known author of comic fiction himself - clearly has a love and understanding of humour, and while this book is not the place to look for jokes (his style here is scholarly rather than jokey), he presents some startling insights in a narrative that combines erudition with critical flair.
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