The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 5, No 1 (2017)

Book review: Beverly J. Rasporich. 2015. Made-in-Canada Humour: Literary, Folk and Popular Culture. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Hardbound. 300 pp. ISSN 2212-8999

Ioana Ciurezu


Made-in-Canada Humour is a journey through space and time in Canadian humour. Rasporich, Arts Professor at the University of Calgary, masterly creates a general picture of Canadian humour culture, thus revealing its particularities. What I particularly enjoyed about this research is the fact that the story line is easy to follow. The author structured the chapters geographically, leading the reader through Canadian humour from East to West. The strong point of the research lies in the large amount of examples provided, thus becoming a useful tool for scholars who study Canadian humour in particular, but also for those who want to better understand the Canadian culture.

Made-in-Canada Humour is an analysis of the way in which humour was understood in the 19th and 20th centuries. As she stated from the beginning of the book, Rasporich wrote it with the intent of recording cultural history, rather than developing humour theories. The author claims from the beginning that the issue she addresses is whether Canadian cultural identity revolves around ‘not being American’. Rasporich is intrigued by the cliché that Canadian cultural identity is more or less invisible. In this context, beginning with the study of literary humour and ending with the analysis of the forms of folk humour and popular culture, the author tries to establish to what extent humour and culture interact.


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