This book offers scholarly and accessible insights into how and why Chinese societies, past and present, approach humour in personal life and in the public sphere. It addresses the etymological difficulties of “humour” as a concept in Chinese language and understanding and explores connections and contrasts with Western “humour-styles”. Periods discussed range from earliest times to the beginning of the twentieth century, covering many different forms of humour, verbal, visual and behavioural. The book brings together internationally respected scholars in Chinese Studies with other specialists to explore humour through modes of enquiry in Cultural and political history, Linguistics, Literature, Drama and History and Philosophy of Science. The unifying focus of the book is humour and laughter in their multitudinous forms of expression in Chinese tradition and culture. Chapters vary in enquiry methods but are written (and fully annotated) in a common style designed to be accessible to the generalist reader as well as the specialist. The book will appeal to anyone taking an intelligent interest in China’s history and culture. Readers more generally interested in humour and laughter -- not well-understood forms of human behaviour -- will also find the book casts light on significant differences in their concepts and practice between cultures. This is a well-informed and scholarly book that will satisfy both specialist and non-specialist readers.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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