The Beauty of Christian “Folly”

By |2021-05-09T05:53:09-05:00May 8th, 2021|Categories: Christianity, Erasmus, Humor, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

The Christian worldview can be characterized as fundamentally comic. This is not simply because the Christian “narrative” starts in sin and ends in salvation, reflecting the ancient definition of comedy. The Christian attitude toward the world also makes him receptive toward and perceptive of humor, because he realizes that nothing in the world is ultimately [...]

Homer’s Humor: Laughter in “The Iliad”

By |2021-04-27T20:36:53-05:00April 8th, 2021|Categories: Great Books, Homer, Humor, Iliad|

Why characters in Homer’s “Iliad” laugh, and why readers are invited and entitled to laugh, are complicated issues. Quite distinct kinds of humor emerge from and contribute to the epic’s predominantly tragic, painfully serious project. In Homer’s myriad-minded narrative, it is often but a step from the sublime to the ridiculous—and the reverse. Mockery and [...]

The Age of the Mask

By |2020-10-16T11:38:24-05:00October 18th, 2020|Categories: Coronavirus, Culture, Humor, Modernity|

During this “age of the mask,” are we on the verge of becoming a people who ritualistically carry masks with us wherever we go? Will it perhaps become generally understood that the wise person always keeps two masks with him at all times? Now that we have seemingly settled into the “age of the mask,” [...]

The Forgotten “Freddy the Pig”

By |2020-08-07T16:07:51-05:00August 7th, 2020|Categories: Books, Humor, Imagination, Literature|

Even though Walter R. Brooks’ “Freddy the Pig” series doesn’t aim to teach a moral story, deliver great epiphanies, or grapple directly with universal human themes, the books are refreshingly unself-conscious and yet still make a considerable contribution to American literature in the same way the works of P.G. Wodehouse have done for English literature—through [...]

An Oaf’s Magnificat: On Kingsley Amis and “Lucky Jim”

By |2021-01-25T13:20:27-06:00July 30th, 2020|Categories: Books, Education, Fiction, Humor, Literature, Satire|

In 1954, “Lucky Jim” was a new planet: When Kingsley Amis wrote it, English satirical fiction had been for a third of a century a decidedly mandarin and highbrow business. Unlike his predecessors, Amis depicts representatives of the lower orders and the previously inaccessible university world that is not so much a garden of philosophy [...]

Aristophanes on Laughter

By |2019-05-30T09:58:34-05:00April 9th, 2019|Categories: Humor, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

There are plenty of men who need to be taught virtue; plenty of pompous men who need to have their egos pricked, plenty of know-it-alls who need to be taken down a couple of notches. The best way to do that is through laughter. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, and the other great poets [...]

To Tell a Tale With Washington Irving

By |2019-06-27T10:39:49-05:00October 30th, 2018|Categories: Books, Christine Norvell, Halloween, Humor, Imagination, Literature|

Storytelling shaped Washington Irving and his life as much as he shaped it. Irving describes how from boyhood he rambled about the countryside and “made myself familiar with all its places famous in history or fable. I knew every spot where a murder or robbery has been committed or a ghost seen. I visited the [...]

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