Arie Sover 2018. The Languages of Humor: Verbal, Visual and Physical Humor
This set of articles discusses the different, but complementary areas of humor. Each of the three types – Jokes Caricatures and Slapstick – is expressed in a different language: jokes told orally but also expressed in writing; caricatures expressed in graphic drawings and slapstick, expressed in body language. Despite the difference in their means of expression, all three belong to the family of humor. Combining articles about all three forms in one book is unique, and creates an opportunity to move from one type to another in an attempt to decipher not only the language of each type, but also their common foundation for better understanding the language of humor.
Each of the three types has a rich history. Jokes are the consequence of ancient, thousands-year old, folk humor that developed in various communities around the world as a response, amongst others, to socio-economic, cultural and political circumstances of these societies. Caricatures first appeared at the end of the 16th century in Italy, although similar expressions appeared in ancient Egypt and classical Greek and Roman cultures. Slapstick became well known in the silent film era. It draws its origins from circus and clowning arts from the end of the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the history of slapstick dates much earlier and can be found in the folk festivals in Medieval Europe and even earlier in comedic theatre of classical Greece and Rome.
What makes the book special is not only the combination of the three types together but also the wide range of disciplines by which they are examined: sociology, psychology, communication, philosophy, history, social-science, linguistics, computer-science, literature, theatre, education and culture studies. These disciplines that the authors come from provide a unique research approach to the three genres.