Journals Higher Education



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Published: 04 September 2008

304 Pages | 35 halftones


ISBN: 9780195304701

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Laughing Fit to Kill

Black Humour in the Fictions of Slavery

Glenda Carpio

  • A brilliant account of how Richard Pryor, Ishmael Reed, and many others have used humor to take up the traumatic legacy of slavery
  • Selling point: The book offers an entire reconsideration of the practices and purposes of African-American cultural humor
  • Selling point: The book provides a lucid example of how to expand the horizons of humor studies, an under-theorized field in much need of the kind of rigorous critical attention that Carpio pays to her subject
  • Selling point: The book is interdisciplinary; it moves courageously between media and aesthetic tradtions: from nineteenth-century literatre to late twentieth-century theater, from stand-up comedy routines to paintings and museum installations
  • Selling point: Carpio's pairing of humor with slavery may be controversial for readers who may think of slavery as too serious a terrain to connect with humor
  • Selling point: The book is ambitious in its profound ethical-political stakes since it examines slavery's legacy in the new millennial politics of representation
  • Selling point: Carpio analyzes the tenacity of stereotypes and shows how rather than avoid their legacy, her artists attempt to think through them

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