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No Joke: Making Jewish Humor (Library of Jewish Ideas)

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No Joke: Making Jewish Humor (Library of Jewish Ideas) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Ruth Wisse's electrifying undressing of Jewish wit catapults us well past Freud's far more inhibited perceptions and into the naked precincts of tragic insight. Riffing through the laughter thrown up by the interpenetrations of language, history, and the political culture of variegated societies, Wisse uncovers subversion, paradox, fright, anger, grief, and the often defeated imagination of reversal. Tickle the funny bone long enough, she warns, and hilarity will expose dread. This stirringly original study of Jewish joking reveals the darker irony that underlies the comedic ironies of the Jewish mind at play."--Cynthia Ozick

"One of the most interesting and insightful books about comedy I've ever read. I learned a lot, and I laughed a lot."--B. J. Novak, writer and actor, The Office

"This is a wise and witty book, and a necessary one, too, because Jewish humor hasn't always received the commentary and analysis it deserves. Almost every page of this fine new work offers something to learn from or laugh about--or both."--William Novak, coeditor of The Big Book of Jewish Humor

"The funniest thing since we let the goyim into show business."--David Mamet

"It's a treat. The jokes are abundant, well chosen, and funny; and Ruth Wisse brings Harvard scholarship to our wonderful Yiddish treasury of humor. A salute and congratulations to Professor Wisse."--Herman Wouk

"An essential examination of Jewish humor. Ruth Wisse ably traces the subject through high literature and low culture, from Heine to Borat, offering new and glimmering insights in each case. She takes on the difficult questions, not least the one of utility: has humor helped the Jews, and does it help them still? No Joke is vastly erudite, deeply informative, and delightfully written--plus it's got plenty of good jokes. What more could one ask for?"--Jeremy Dauber, Columbia University

"No Joke is both an anthology and running interpretation of Jewish humor. Ruth Wisse provides original treatments of Heine, Kafka, Sholem Aleichem, Israel Zangwill, Leonard Q. Ross (Leo Rosten), Sh. Y. Agnon, and Philip Roth, among many others. In an age of books that cover four or five disparate figures and call themselves wide-ranging, No Joke is a return to the ambition of comprehensiveness and to the confidence that scholarship might appeal to the common educated reader. I can't recommend the book more highly."--D. G. Myers, Ohio State University

Review:

"Wisse, whose The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey Through Language and Culture won the 2001 National Jewish Book Award, is well suited to analyzing the history of Jewish humor. Through chapters that divide up the Jewish experience from the early 19th century through the present, the Harvard professor makes good on her goal of demonstrating 'how the benefits of Jewish humor are reaped from the paradoxes of Jewish life, so that Jewish humor at its best carries the scar of the convulsions that brought it into being.' In looking at German Jewry during the Enlightenment, she trenchantly notes that 'comedy's predilection for inversion and incongruity was richly served by a society that enticed Jews into conversions that it necessarily distrusted, and Jews who distrusted the society into which they were voluntarily coerced.' That bitter edge is exemplified in jokes Jews told when the Nazi practice of using human fat to make soap became widely known, and she compellingly argues in another section that Israeli Jews used wit as 'creative compensation for political impotence' of the newly-formed Jewish state. Accessible to nonacademic audiences as well as scholars, this cultural history is a welcome addition to the study of humor in a sociopolitical context. 14 illus. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

When people discuss food in Israel, their debates ask politically charged questions: Who has the right to falafel? Whose hummus is better? But Yael Ravivandrsquo;s Falafel Nation moves beyond the simply territorial to divulge the role food plays in the Jewish nation. She ponders the power struggles, moral dilemmas, and religious and ideological affiliations of the different ethnic groups that make up the andldquo;Jewish Stateandrdquo; and how they relate to the gastronomy of the region. How do we interpret the recent upsurge in the Israeli culinary sceneandmdash;the transition from ideological asceticism to the current deluge of fine restaurants, gourmet stores, and related publications and media?

Focusing on the period between the 1905 immigration wave and the Six-Day War in 1967, Raviv explores foodways from the field, factory, market, and kitchen to the table.and#160;She incorporates the role of women, ethnic groups, and different generations into the story of Zionism and offers new assertions from a secular-foodie perspective on the relationship between Jewish religion and Jewish nationalism. A study of the changes in food practices and in attitudes toward food and cooking, Falafel Nation explains how the change in the relationship between Israelis and their food mirrors the search for a definition of modern Jewish nationalism.and#160;

Synopsis:

"An essential examination of Jewish humor. Ruth Wisse ably traces the subject through high literature and low culture, from Heine to Borat, offering new and glimmering insights in each case. She takes on the difficult questions, not least the one of utility: has humor helped the Jews, and does it help them still? No Joke is vastly erudite, deeply informative, and delightfully written--plus it's got plenty of good jokes. What more could one ask for?"--Jeremy Dauber, Columbia University

"No Joke is both an anthology and running interpretation of Jewish humor. Ruth Wisse provides original treatments of Heine, Kafka, Sholem Aleichem, Israel Zangwill, Leonard Q. Ross (Leo Rosten), Sh. Y. Agnon, and Philip Roth, among many others. In an age of books that cover four or five disparate figures and call themselves wide-ranging, No Joke is a return to the ambition of comprehensiveness and to the confidence that scholarship might appeal to the common educated reader. I can't recommend the book more highly."--D. G. Myers, Ohio State University

About the Author

Ruth R. Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and professor of comparative literature at Harvard University. She is the author of The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey through Language and Culture, which won a National Jewish Book Award. Her other books include Jews and Power (Schocken) and The Schlemiel as Modern Hero.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Introduction: The Best Medicine 1

1 German Lebensraum 29

2 Yiddish Heartland 59

3 The Anglosphere 104

4 Under Hitler and Stalin 143

5 Hebrew Homeland 182

Conclusion: When Can I Stop Laughing? 221

Acknowledgments 245

Notes 249

Index 267

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691149462
Author:
Wisse, Ruth R
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Wisse, Ruth R.
Author:
Raviv, Yael
Subject:
Comparative Literature
Subject:
Jewish studies
Subject:
World History/Comparative History
Subject:
Humor-Comedy Business and Criticism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Cloth
Series:
Studies of Jews in Society
Publication Date:
20130602
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 halftones.
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Comedy Business and Criticism
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Literary History » General
History and Social Science » Literary History » Literary Interviews
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Jewish Studies
Religion » Judaism » Thought and Culture
Young Adult » General

No Joke: Making Jewish Humor (Library of Jewish Ideas) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691149462 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Wisse, whose The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey Through Language and Culture won the 2001 National Jewish Book Award, is well suited to analyzing the history of Jewish humor. Through chapters that divide up the Jewish experience from the early 19th century through the present, the Harvard professor makes good on her goal of demonstrating 'how the benefits of Jewish humor are reaped from the paradoxes of Jewish life, so that Jewish humor at its best carries the scar of the convulsions that brought it into being.' In looking at German Jewry during the Enlightenment, she trenchantly notes that 'comedy's predilection for inversion and incongruity was richly served by a society that enticed Jews into conversions that it necessarily distrusted, and Jews who distrusted the society into which they were voluntarily coerced.' That bitter edge is exemplified in jokes Jews told when the Nazi practice of using human fat to make soap became widely known, and she compellingly argues in another section that Israeli Jews used wit as 'creative compensation for political impotence' of the newly-formed Jewish state. Accessible to nonacademic audiences as well as scholars, this cultural history is a welcome addition to the study of humor in a sociopolitical context. 14 illus. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,

When people discuss food in Israel, their debates ask politically charged questions: Who has the right to falafel? Whose hummus is better? But Yael Ravivandrsquo;s Falafel Nation moves beyond the simply territorial to divulge the role food plays in the Jewish nation. She ponders the power struggles, moral dilemmas, and religious and ideological affiliations of the different ethnic groups that make up the andldquo;Jewish Stateandrdquo; and how they relate to the gastronomy of the region. How do we interpret the recent upsurge in the Israeli culinary sceneandmdash;the transition from ideological asceticism to the current deluge of fine restaurants, gourmet stores, and related publications and media?

Focusing on the period between the 1905 immigration wave and the Six-Day War in 1967, Raviv explores foodways from the field, factory, market, and kitchen to the table.and#160;She incorporates the role of women, ethnic groups, and different generations into the story of Zionism and offers new assertions from a secular-foodie perspective on the relationship between Jewish religion and Jewish nationalism. A study of the changes in food practices and in attitudes toward food and cooking, Falafel Nation explains how the change in the relationship between Israelis and their food mirrors the search for a definition of modern Jewish nationalism.and#160;

"Synopsis" by , "An essential examination of Jewish humor. Ruth Wisse ably traces the subject through high literature and low culture, from Heine to Borat, offering new and glimmering insights in each case. She takes on the difficult questions, not least the one of utility: has humor helped the Jews, and does it help them still? No Joke is vastly erudite, deeply informative, and delightfully written--plus it's got plenty of good jokes. What more could one ask for?"--Jeremy Dauber, Columbia University

"No Joke is both an anthology and running interpretation of Jewish humor. Ruth Wisse provides original treatments of Heine, Kafka, Sholem Aleichem, Israel Zangwill, Leonard Q. Ross (Leo Rosten), Sh. Y. Agnon, and Philip Roth, among many others. In an age of books that cover four or five disparate figures and call themselves wide-ranging, No Joke is a return to the ambition of comprehensiveness and to the confidence that scholarship might appeal to the common educated reader. I can't recommend the book more highly."--D. G. Myers, Ohio State University

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