The Power of Laughter and Satire in Early Modern Britain
Title Details

262 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

8 colour. 8 b/w. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press

The Power of Laughter and Satire in Early Modern Britain

Political and Religious Culture, 1500-1820

Edited by Mark Knights and Adam Morton

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
Leading scholars show how laughter and satire in early modern Britain functioned in a variety of contexts both to affirm communal boundaries and to undermine them.
This interdisciplinary collection considers the related topics of satire and laughter in early modern Britain through a series of case studies ranging from the anti-monastic polemics of the early Reformation to the satirical invasion prints of the Napoleonic wars. Moving beyond the traditional literary canon to investigate printed material of all kinds, both textual and visual, it considers satire as a mode or attitude rather than a literary genre and is distinctive in its combination of broad historial range and thick description of individual instances.
Within an over-arching investigation of the dual role of laughter and satire as a defence of communal values and as a challenge to political, religious and social constructions of authority, the individual chapters by leading scholars provide richly contextualised studies of the uses of laughter and satire in various settings - religious, political, theatrical and literary. Drawing on some unfamiliar and intriguing source material and on recent work on the history of the emotions, the contributors consider not just the texts themselves but their effect on their audiences, andchart both the changing use of humour and satire across the whole early modern period and, importantly, the less often noticed strands of continuity, for instance in the persistence of religious tropes throughout the period.

MARK KNIGHTS is Professor of History at the University of Warwick.

ADAM MORTON is Lecturer in the History of Britain at the University of Newcastle.

Contributors: ANDREW BENJAMIN BRICKER, MARK KNIGHTS, FIONA MCCALL, ANDREW MCRAE, ADAM MORTON, SOPHIE MURRAY, ROBERT PHIDDIAN, MARK PHILP, CATHY SHRANK.
Introduction: Laughter and Satire in Early Modern Britain 1500-1800
Dissolving into Laughter: Anti-Monastic Satire in the Reign of Henry VIII - Sophie Murray
Mocking or Mirthful? Laughter in early modern dialogue - Cathy Shrank
Farting in the House of Commons: Popular Humour and Political Discourse in early modern England - Andrew McRae
Continuing civil war by other means: royalist mockery of the interregnum church - Fiona McCall
Laughter as a Polemical Act in late Seventeenth Century England - Adam Morton
Spectacular opposition: Suppression, deflection and the performance of contempt in John Gay's Beggar's Opera and Polly - Robert Phiddian
'Laughing a Folly out of Countenance': Laughter and the Limits of Reform in Eighteenth-Century Satire - Andrew Bricker
Nervous Laughter and the Invasion of Britain 1797-1805 - Mark Philp
'Was a laugh treason?' Corruption, Satire, Parody and the Press in early modern Britain - Mark Knights
"[T]he essays examine an unexpected and fresh set of texts. . . . One hopes that this lively and fruitful volume encourages more scholarship on these important topics." EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FICTION
"A stimulating collection." HISTORY
"This delightful volume articulates a significant facet of satire that can be read across the early modern period: that it created a space for criticism." CERCLES

Hardcover

9781783272037

June 2017

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781787440814

June 2017

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Title Details

262 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

8 colour. 8 b/w. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press