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Humour: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – March 1, 2014
by Noel Carroll (Author)

Humour is a universal feature of human life. It has been discovered in every known human culture, and thinkers have discussed it for over two thousand years. In this Very Short Introduction Noel Carroll considers the nature and value of humour: from its leading theories and its relation to emotion and cognition, to ethical questions of its morality and its significance in shaping society.

About the Series:
Oxford’s Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects–from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative–yet always balanced and complete-discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society.

Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

“This pocket-sized paperback examines the leading theories of humor and the value and morality of different types with a focus on the incongruity theory. Carroll considers the relationship between emotion and cognition and considers the big question: What does humor tell us about human nature?” – Nota Bene

About the Author
Noel Carroll, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Temple University

Noel Carroll is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Temple University. He is a renowned scholar in the fields of film theory, the philosophy of literature, the philosophy of the visual arts, and social and cultural theory. He is the author or editor of 15 books and hundreds of articles on a wide range of humanistic and cultural topics and he has already written broadly on the topic of comedy. He currently teaches courses in film and media theory, philosophy of art and philosophy of history.

Product Details
Series: Very Short Introductions
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199552223
ISBN-13: 978-0199552221
Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.4 x 4.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

A really good introduction
By Sixto J. Castroon March 23, 2014
Format: Paperback

This short work is part of a series of brief introductions to various philosophical issues, published by Oxford University Press, in which various scholars analyze, in an affordable but deep way, some questions in which they are experts. Noël Carroll has written extensively on the subject of this brief introduction, and he is undoubtedly one of the thinkers of reference on the subject of humour. So this little book is a highly recommended approach to that vast subject. If someone has followed Carroll’s work on the topic, (s)he will understand what I mean.
To begin with, Carroll explains and reviews the different theories that attempt to explain the nature of humour (superiority, incongruity, release…), and illustrates each of the theses by means of multiple examples (jokes, TV series…). He focuses especially on the incongruity theory, which is the most widely accepted, and develops his own proposal. The book also analyzes the relationship between humour, emotion and knowledge, in order to see whether we can really hold that comic amusement is an emotional state, and studies the relationship between humour and value, as well as the moral concerns involved in humour. It includes also a brief critical bibliography of each of the issues discussed in it.
I don’t thing anyone can get a better introduction to the topic. Carroll knows what he is talking about and is able to introduce the many nuances of the topic in such a way that any reader can easily see and understand the status quaestionis. I find it really useful.


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