Cover for ORING: Engaging Humor. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Engaging Humor

Exploring the structure, motives, and meanings of humor in everyday life

In Engaging Humor, 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 scrutinizes classic Jewish jokes, frontier humor, racist cartoons, blonde jokes, and Internet humor. He provides alternate ways of thinking about humorous expressions by examining their contexts--not just their contents. He also shows how the incongruity and absurdity essential to the production of laughter can serve serious communicative ends.

Engaging Humor examines the thoughts that underlie jokes, the question of racist motivation in ethnic humor, and the use of humor as a commentary on social interaction. The book also explores the relationship between humor and sentimentality and the role of humor in forging national identity. Engaging Humor demonstrates that when analyzed contextually and comparatively, humorous expressions emerge as communications that are startling, intriguing, and profound.

"This readable, well-reasoned book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in humor. Highly recommended."--Choice

"Elliott Oring has written a profound as well as clear and entertaining book."--Folklore

"In every way, Elliott Oring's Engaging Humor leads the pack. . . . It is thoughtful and learned without being dull or pedantic; it combines a folklorist's attention to the social life of jokes with the textual critic's appreciation of verbal nuance. Courage marks every chapter."--Studies in American Humor

"Engaging Humor . . . would prove a useful source to anyone working on the philosophy of humor. It is also a very good read."--Philosophy in Review

I have read well over a hundred books on humor. None is superior to this one in clarity of expression or liveliness of ideas.--John Morreall, author of Taking Laughter Seriously and Humor Works and review editor of Humor: International Journal of Humor Research from 1988 to 1999

Elliott Oring is a professor emeritus of anthropology at California State University, Los Angeles, and is the author of Israeli Humor, The Jokes of Sigmund Freud, and Jokes and Their Relations. He serves on the editorial board of Humor: International Journal of Humor Research.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
The Beautiful Music All Around Us

Field Recordings and the American Experience

Stephen Wade

Reinventing Chinese Tradition

The Cultural Politics of Late Socialism

Ka-ming Wu

Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics

Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance

Phil Jamison

Maithil Women's Tales

Storytelling on the Nepal-India Border

Coralynn V. Davis

Women Musicians of Uzbekistan

From Courtyard to Conservatory

Tanya Merchant

Midwest Maize

How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland

Cynthia Clampitt

The Ecology of the Spoken Word

Amazonian Storytelling and Shamanism among the Napo Runa

Michael A. Uzendoski and Edith Felicia Calapucha-Tapuy

Squeeze This!

A Cultural History of the Accordion in America

Marion Jacobson

Journal of American Folklore

Edited by Thomas A. DuBois and James P. Leary

Daisy Turner's Kin

An African American Family Saga

Jane C. Beck

Engaging Humor ebook is available for immediate download from the following vendors:
Barnes & Noble
Google Play