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Jewish Comedy

A Serious History

Jeremy Dauber



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13 November 2018
In a work of scholarship both erudite and funny, Jeremy Dauber traces the origins of Jewish comedy and its development from biblical times to the age of Twitter. Organising his book thematically into what he calls the seven strands of Jewish comedy (including the Satirical, the Witty and the Vulgar), Dauber explores the ways Jewish comedy has dealt with persecution, assimilation and diaspora through the ages. He explains the rise and fall of popular comic archetypes such as the Jewish mother, the JAP, and the schlemiel and schlimazel. He also explores a range of comic masterpieces, from the Book of Esther, Talmudic rabbi jokes, Yiddish satires, Borscht Belt skits and Seinfeld to the work of such masters as Sholem Aleichem, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Philip Roth, Sarah Silverman and Jon Stewart.
By:   Jeremy Dauber
Imprint:   Norton
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 208mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   293g
ISBN:   9780393356298
ISBN 10:   0393356299
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   13 November 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jeremy Dauber is the Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Columbia University. He is the author of several books on Jewish literature, including In the Demon's Bedroom: Yiddish Literature and the Early Modern, Antonio's Devils: Writers of the Jewish Enlightenment and the Birth of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature, and The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem, which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. He lives in New York City.

Reviews for Jewish Comedy: A Serious History

This book is brilliant, endlessly revelatory, and Jeremy Dauber is that rare scholar and critic of real depth who doesn't just make his subject accessible but animates it with the strength of his prose. He's also one of the few writers I've encountered who can explain a joke without killing it. Bravo.--Sam Lipsyte, author of The Fun Parts Thoughtful.... Fascinating.--Mark Horowitz A serious study, and most interesting at its most serious and obscure.--Cathleen Schine Both erudite and breezy.... Dauber's breadth left me breathless and his depth left me in his debt.--Adam Rovner A serious and good philosophical work... that doesn't consist entirely of jokes but has an awful lot of them in it.... Some of its jokes are laugh-out-loud funny, and some of them are poignantly beautiful.--David Baddiel An excellent new survey of Jewish humor from the Old Testament through Adam Sandler.--Joseph Epstein A comprehensive, accessible treatment of a complex subject. As the famous 1960s ad campaign for Levy's rye bread told us, you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy it.--Harvey Freedenberg Hugely smart and hugely readable.... Here is a serious book full of the reasons Jewish humor is as funny and influential as it is, whether it's a response to persecution or a social satire or intellectual or raunchy or ironic or folksy.--Jeff Simon Sharp and wide-ranging.... Dauber finds comedy in unexpected places.--Adam Wilson A brilliant and groundbreaking book.--Adam Kirsch, author of The People and the Books

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