Elliott Oring asks essential questions concerning humorous expression in contemporary society, examining how humor works, why it is employed, and what its messages might be. This provocative book is filled with examples of jokes and riddles that reveal humor to be a meaningful--even significant--form of expression. Oring provides alternate ways of thinking about humorous expressions by examining their contexts--not just their contents. Engaging Humor demonstrates that when analyzed contextually and comparatively, humorous expressions emerge as communications that are startling, intriguing, and profound.
Elliott Oring offers a fresh perspective on jokes and related forms of humor. Criticizing and modifying traditional concepts and methods of analysis, he delineates an approach that can explain the peculiarities of a wide variety of humorous expression. Written in an accessible and engaging style, this book will appeal to scholar and layman alike--to anyone who has ever wondered how jokes work and what they mean.
Derived from the Arabic word for “lie,” the word “chizbat” was chosen by members of the Palmah to designate the particular form of narrative joke exchanged by these volunteer defenders of Jewish settlements in Israel during the uncertain years 1941—48. Elliott Oring concentrates his attention on how the chizbat represents the expression of a distinctly Israeli identity and the disparate elements of this identity: sabra/European, Arab/Israeli, East/West. He shows how chizbat humor depends, not so much on novelty or punch line, as on displaying these incongruities of Israeli identity. Oring also discusses the sociocultural context in which the chizbat developed and examines how various theories of humor apply to understanding the chizbat. In an appendix invaluable for the folklorist, Oring has translated hundreds of chizbat into English. some are from written sources and others are verbal accounts he obtained during his months of research in Israel.
Oring's introductory folklore text consists of a series of essays by leading scholars that give the student a solid sense of major folklore topics and interpretive techniques. Since 1986, when it was first published, this book has met the need for good instructional material at a time of tremendous growth in folklore programs and introductory courses in colleges and universities around the world.
Nothing in the understanding of humor is as simple as it might seem. In Joking Asides, Elliott Oring confronts the problems of humor, analyzing the key contemporary approaches to its study and addressing controversial topics with new empirical data and insights. A folklorist drawn to the study of humor, Oring developed his formulation of “appropriate incongruity” as a frame to understand what jokes must do to produce humor. He tests appropriate incongruity against other major positions in the field, including the general theory of verbal humor, conceptual integration theory, benign violation theory, and false-belief theory. Oring draws on the work of scholars from several disciplines—a...
The Jokes of Sigmund Freud unravels the intimate connections between Sigmund Freud and his Jewish identity. Author Elliott Oring observes that Freud frequently identified with the characters in the jokes he told, and that there was a strong relationship between these jokes and his own psychological and social state. This analysis offers novel insights into the enigmatic character of Freud and a fresh perspective on the nature of the science that he founded.
Far more than merely elements of space sectioned off and set aside for the burial of the dead, cemeteries are, in effect, open cultural texts, there to be read and appreciated by anyone who takes the time to learn a bit of their special language. In the United States, nowhere is this more true than in the case of cemeteries established by members of the diverse ethnic groups which have exerted a subtle but powerful influence upon the development of American culture. Ethnicity and the American Cemetery, a volume comprised of eight original, individually commissioned essays, explores in detail the manner in which representative ethnic groups in America have made their cemeteries - the sites th...