The Penguin Book of Women's Humor

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9780140172942: The Penguin Book of Women's Humor

This anthology looks at the genre of women's humour and illuminates the ways in which women's humour differs from men's. It aims to destroy the assumption that humour is universal and shows it instead as marked by subjectivity and bound by gender. The book contains essays, short stories, dramas, and poems, on a range of subjects, from a variety of women including Anita Loos, Mae West, Moms Mabley, Erma Bombeck, Lily Tomlin, Elayne Boosler, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott and Dorothy Parker.

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From Booklist:

Barreca, author of the groundbreaking book, They Used to Call Me Snow White...but I Drifted: Women's Strategic Use of Humor (1991), gets it just right when she introduces this gratifyingly substantial and thoroughly invigorating anthology by stating that women's humor has always been a "tool for survival" and a "weapon against the absurdities of injustice." There is, indeed, something radical about funny women. Men have long devalued the intellect, perspective, and wit of women, an attempt at oppression that has only inspired higher levels of satire and wisecracking. Barreca has searched far and wide for prime examples of triumphant women's humor, tapping into the routines of such comics as Whoopi Goldberg and Paula Poundstone as well as the work of "serious" writers, including Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bowen, Fay Weldon, and Virginia Woolf. This volume, which also includes such expected luminaries as Dorothy Parker, Fran Lebowitz, and Molly Ivins, is full of delectable and memorable surprises as Barreca quotes women joking about everything from anatomy to housekeeping, shoes, and marriage. To quote Mae West, "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." Donna Seaman

From Library Journal:

In earlier days, a book like this would probably have been called a "treasury" of women's humor, which would have been appropriate because its 700 or so delicious pages are chockfull of treasures wicked, witty, and wonderful. Just about every well-known woman who said or wrote something funny is represented here, from Aphra Behn to Elaine Boosler, from Erma Bombeck to Roz Chast and Nicole Hollander (yes, cartoonists are represented too). Edited by the author of They Used To Call Me Snow White: Women's Strategic Use of Humor (LJ 3/15/91), selections range from one-liners to longer excerpts from books. Most of these examples are just long enough to pique the reader's interest to seek out the source volume and see just how funny the author is?as when Fannie Flagg describes a woman's secret life as Towanda the Avenger (from Fried Green Tomatos at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Random, 1987). Selections are in alphabetical order by author's name, so the reader can easily find a favorite, but it's great fun just to open to any page and enjoy the delight found there. Essential for public libraries.?Audrey Eaglen, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, Ohio
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Published by Penguin Books (1996)
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