French Laughter: Literary Humour from Diderot to Tournier

French Laughter: Literary Humour from Diderot to Tournier

by Walter Redfern

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The culmination of a lifetime's fascination with humour in all its forms, this book is the first in any language to embrace such an impressive span of authors and such a broad range of topics in French literary humour. In nine wide-ranging chapters Walter Redfern considers diverse writers and topics, including: Diderot, viewed as a laughing philosopher, mainly through his fiction (Les Bijoux indiscrets, Le Neeu de Rameau, and Jacques le fataliste); humourlessness, corraling Rousseau, Sade, the Christian God, and Jean-Pierre Brisset; the aesthete Huysmans, in both his avatars, Symbolist and Naturalist (A Rebours, Sac au dos, and other texts); the dramatic use of parrots by Flaubert, Queneau, and Beckett; Vallès and la blague; exaggeration in Vallès and Céline (Mort à credit and L'Enfant); the fiction, plays, and autobiography of Sartre; bad jokes in Beckett; wordplay in Tournier's fiction (especially Roi des aulnes and Les Météores). Five interleaved 'riffs' on laughter, dreams, black humour, politics, and taste, carry the enquiry into questions of humour outside of the purely French context, enhancing a book that impresses as much with its vivacity of style as with the breadth and depth of its scholarship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780191528705
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Publication date: 02/21/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 546 KB

About the Author

Walter Redfern is Emeritus Professor of French Studies at Reading University. His research interests include Giono, Nizan, Queneau, Sartre, Darien, Vallès, Tournier, Guilloux; wordplay; clichés; coinages, as well as 19th-century linguistics (J-P. Brisset). In addition to numerous articles on French nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, humour, and political commitment, his output includes BBC talks and scripts for programmes on language matters, a novel, short stories and poems. He has written several books, including, most recently, Puns, 2nd revised edition (Penguin, 2000).

Table of Contents

Promises, promises
1. The Laughing Philosopher: Diderot
Riff on Laughter
2. The Question of Humourlessness (Rousseau, Sade, God, and Brisset)
Riff on Dreams
3. Huysmans: Back-to-front, and Back-packing
4. A Little Bird Tells Us: Parrots in Flaubert, Queneau, Beckett (and Tutti Quanti)
5. Blague hard! Vall s
Riff on Black Humour
6. Upping the Anti/e: Exaggeration in Vall s and C line
Riff on Politics
7. Dr'ole de philosophie: Sartre
8. Bad Jokes and Beckett
Riff on Taste
9. Approximating Man: Michel Tournier's Play with Words

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