Introductions to fields of studies are almost a sub-genre in their own right, but are often resistant to direct comparison. The essay discusses four recent introductions to humour published by university presses, and what more broadly they may signify about disciplinary advertisement and consolidation. It emphasises a range of difficulties endemic to the study of humour arising from its interdisciplinarity, recent establishment, the variable range of humour and its putative universality; in which context it pays attention to Austinian performatives, puns and their translation, and to the shared propensity in these introductions to mythologise the history of humour theory. Most critical attention is paid to the studies that form almost polar opposites: Nilsen & Nilsen, The Language of Humour and Attardo, The Linguistics of Humour.
Attardo, S. (2020). The Linguistics of Humour: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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