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Humour, History and Politics in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

$45.99 (C)

  • Editor: Guy Halsall, Birkbeck College, University of London
Guy Halsall, Danuta Schanzer, John Haldon, Martha Bayless, Mark Humphries, Ross Balzaretti, Matthew Innes, Paul Kershaw
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  • Date Published: March 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521133654

$ 45.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Although the topic of humor has been dealt with for other eras, early medieval humor remains largely neglected. The essays collected here attempt to fill the gap, examining how the writers of early medieval sources deliberately employed humor to make their case. The essays range from the late Roman empire through to the tenth century, and from Byzantium to Anglo-Saxon England. The subject matter is diverse, but a number of themes link them together, notably the use of irony, ridicule and satire as political tools.

    • A comprehensive book to look at the way humour, irony and ridicule were used in late antique and early medieval writing
    • Shows how humour was constructed and used in medieval society, and how it differs from twenty-first-century humour
    • Both scholarly and entertaining, reflecting the subject matter
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Whilst the overarching theme is humour and comedy, sophisticated issues of politics, hostility, and hermeneutics are raised. This is an exciting collection, erudite yet accessible, providing an entertaining and revealing resource for students and scholars alike.' Medium Aemm

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521133654
    • length: 224 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Notes on contributors
    List of abbreviations
    Introduction: 'Don't worry, I've got the key' Guy Halsall
    Part I. The Fate of Humorous Writing:
    1. Laughter and humour in the early medieval Latin west Danuta Schanzer
    2. Humour and the everyday in Byzantium John Haldon
    Part II. Humour and the Politics of Difference:
    3. The lexicon of abuse: drunkenness and political illegitimacy in the late Roman world Mark Humphries
    4. Funny foreigners: laughing with the barbarians in late Antiquity Guy Halsall
    5. Liutprand of Cremona's sense of humour Ross Balzaretti
    Part III. Humour, History and Politics in the Carolingian World:
    6. 'He never even allowed his white teeth to be bared in laughter': the politics of humour in the Carolingian renaissance Matthew Innes
    7. Alcuin's Disputatio Pippini and the early medieval riddle tradition Martha Bayless
    8. Laughter after Babel's fall: misunderstanding and miscommunication in the ninth-century west Paul Kershaw

  • Editor

    Guy Halsall, Birkbeck College, University of London


    Guy Halsall, Danuta Schanzer, John Haldon, Martha Bayless, Mark Humphries, Ross Balzaretti, Matthew Innes, Paul Kershaw

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