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Looking at Laughter: Humor, Power, and Transgression in Roman Visual Culture, 100 B. C. - A. D. 250

Clarke, John R.

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ISBN 10: 0520237331 / ISBN 13: 9780520237339
Published by University Of California Press, 2007
Used Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket hardcover
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Berkeley. 2007. University Of California Press. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. 336 pages. November 2007. hardcover. 9780520237339. keywords: Art; Classics; Art History; Art & Architecture; Archaeology; Classical History; Ancient History. inventory # 36458. FROM THE PUBLISHER - In this fresh, accessible, and beautifully illustrated book, his third to examine an aspect of Roman visual culture, John R. Clarke explores the question, ‘What made Romans laugh?’ Looking at Laughter examines a heterogeneous corpus of visual material, from the crudely obscene to the exquisitely sophisticated and from the playful to the deadly serious–everything from street theater to erudite paintings parodying the emperor. Nine chapters, organized under the rubrics of Visual Humor, Social Humor, and Sexual Humor, analyze a wide range of visual art, including wall painting, sculpture, mosaics, and ceramics. Archaeological sites, as well as a range of ancient texts, inscriptions, and graffiti, provide the background for understanding the how and why of humorous imagery. This entertaining study offers fascinating insights into the mentality of Roman patrons and viewers who enjoyed laughing at the gods, the powers-that-be, and themselves. Bookseller Inventory # 36458

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Looking at Laughter: Humor, Power, and ...

Publisher: University Of California Press

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good In Dustjacket

Edition: 1st Edition.

About this title


In this engaging study, a follow up to his earlier Looking at Lovemaking John R. Clarke asks what the Romans found funny, and why. As the title would suggest, he focuses on the evidence to be found in Roman art and material culture, including graffitti, although literary sources of course provide a framework for the study. He draws heavily on the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin, finding that much of Roman humour relies on the overturning of the existing social order, and breaking of taboos, be they social, religious or sexual.

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