American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny

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9780062225184: American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny

American Cornball is Christopher Miller's irresistibly funny illustrated survey of popular humor—the topics that used to make us laugh, from hiccups and henpecked-husbands to outhouses and old maids—and what it tells us about our country yesterday and today.

Miller revisits nearly 200 comic staples that have been passed down through our culture for generations, many originating from the vaudeville age. He explores the (often unseemly) contexts from which they arose, why they were funny in their time, and why they eventually lost their appeal. The result is a kind of taxonomy of humor during America's golden age that provides a deeper, more profound look at the prejudices, preoccupations, and peculiarities of a nation polarized between urban and rural, black and white, highborn and lowbrow.

As he touches on issues of racism and sexism, cultural stereotypes and violence, Miller reveals how dramatically our moral sensibilities have shifted, most notably in the last few decades. Complete with more than 100 period illustrations, American Cornball is a richly entertaining survey of our shifting comic universe.

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From the Back Cover:

Why do anvils fall from the sky?

And backseat drivers make us cry?

What do these old jokes mean?

The answers are in American Cornball, a hysterical illustrated survey of things that used to make us laugh. From hiccups and henpecked husbands to outhouses and old maids, Christopher Miller revisits nearly 200 comic staples, their (often unseemly) origins, why they were funny then, and why they’re not so funny now. The result is a grand tour of the era between vaudeville and TV—a world of black and white, highborn and lowbrow, witty and wacky, the awkward and the sublime. Complete with more than 200 period illustrations, American Cornball is a masterwork of cultural excavation . . . and a genuine laff riot.

About the Author:

Christopher Miller is the author of Sudden Noises from Inanimate Objects, a Seattle Times Best Book of the Year. He teaches at Bennington College in Vermont.

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Book Description Harper Paperbacks, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 132 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Christopher Miller s American Cornball is an indispensable history of our shared legacy of forgotten humor by one of our wittiest cultural observers; it s also that rare book on humor that is as entertaining as its subject (Publishers Weekly). From hiccups and henpecked husbands to outhouses and old maids, Miller revisits nearly two hundred comic staples, their (often unseemly) origins, their cultural roots, and what they reveal about American society. The result is a grand tour of the world we came from and too often forget a world of black and white, highborn and lowbrow, witty and wacky, the awkward and the sublime.Complete with more than two hundred period illustrations, American Cornball is a masterwork of cultural excavation . . . and a genuine laff riot. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062225184

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Book Description Harper Paperbacks, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 132 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Christopher Miller s American Cornball is an indispensable history of our shared legacy of forgotten humor by one of our wittiest cultural observers; it s also that rare book on humor that is as entertaining as its subject (Publishers Weekly). From hiccups and henpecked husbands to outhouses and old maids, Miller revisits nearly two hundred comic staples, their (often unseemly) origins, their cultural roots, and what they reveal about American society. The result is a grand tour of the world we came from and too often forget a world of black and white, highborn and lowbrow, witty and wacky, the awkward and the sublime.Complete with more than two hundred period illustrations, American Cornball is a masterwork of cultural excavation . . . and a genuine laff riot. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062225184

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