Many excellent jokes can pose potential difficulties for tellers and listeners since they require considerable knowledge of the subject of the joke and have a long and elaborate narrative structure such that only a very skilled joke-teller can do justice to them. In a democratic, fast-moving, plural, urban world such features can create problems since they mean that on a particular occasion when jokes are being told some of the listeners may miss the point of the joke and others will feel inhibited from telling a joke. Jokes with seemingly pointless endings may likewise disappoint the broad masse, who like clear, well structured jokes with a strong resolution and who may be bored by one that disappears into nonsense. Each of these points will be considered in turn, partly from an analytical point of view and partly in relation to empirical observations of how jokes in the English language have evolved in the course of the twentieth century.
Carroll, Lewis (1965). The Works of Lewis Carroll. Feltham UK: Spring.
Cerf, Bennett (1945) Laughing Stock. New York: Grosset and Dunlap.
Chambers, Gary (1980) The Second almost Complete Irish Gag Book. London: Star.
Chambers, Gary (1981) The Last almost Complete Irish Gag Book, London: Star.
Chłopicki, Władysław (2001) “Humorous and non-humorous stories: Are there differences in frame-based reception?”. Stylistyka 10: Style and Humour; 59–78.
Chłopicki, Władysław (2004) “Are there cultural prototypes of humorous short stories?” [In:] Evelina Graur; Alexandru Diaconescu (eds.) Messages, Sages and Ages: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on British and American Studies Suceava University. Suceava: Editura Universităţii Suceava; 241–244.
Cobb, Irvin S. (1923) A Laugh a Day Keeps the Doctor Away. Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing.
Copeland, Lewis, Faye Copeland (1939) 10,000 Jokes, Toasts and Stories. Garden City NY: Garden City Publishers.
Davies, Christie (1998) Jokes and their Relation to Society. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Davies, Christie (1990) Ethnic Humor around the World: A Comparative Analysis. Bloomington IN: Indiana UP.
Davies, Christie (2002a) The Mirth of Nations. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
Davies, Christie (2002b) “Comic and Serious Patterns of Speech in Kipling’s Verse”. Stylistyka XI, Stylistics and Poetics; 157–180.
Davies, Christie (2004) The Right to Joke. London: Social Affairs Unit.
Davies, Christie, Władysław Chłopicki (2004) “Dowcipy o Polakach w Ameryce – znamienny wytwór współczesnego społeczeństwa masowego”. [In:] Piotr Chruszczewski (ed.) Aspekty współczesnych dyskursów. Series: Język a komunikacja 6 vol. 1, Kraków: Tertium; 59–77.
Don, Basil (pseud.) (1991) The Very Best of Essex Girl Jokes, London: Attica.
Dundes, Alan, Roger D. Abraham (1975) “On Elephantasy and Elephanticide.” [In:] Alan Dundes (ed.) Analytical Essays in Folklore. The Hague: Mouton; 192–205.
Elefanten Buch, Das [no indication of editor] (1964) Freiburg: Walter.
Ernst, Theodor R. (1927) Laughter: Gems of the World’s Best Humor. New York: Theodore R. Ernst.
Further Sunbeams [no indication of editor] (1924) London: Stanley Paul.
Greenway, John (1972) The Last Frontier. London: David-Poynter.
Kuipers, Giselinde (2001) Goede humor, slechte Smaak, Nederlanders over Moppen. Amsterdam: Boom.
Leigh, Ray, and Brent Wood, Brent (pseuds.) (1991) The Essex Girl Joke Book. London: Corgi Books.
Martin, Bernice (1981) The Sociology of Contemporary Culture Change. Oxford:Blackwell.
The Official Essex Girl Joke Book [no date of publication, no place of publication, no publisher; unpaginated].
Pahl, Raymond, Edward (1984) Divisions of Labour. Oxford: Blackwell.
Patten, William (1959) Among the Humorists and After Dinner Speakers. New York: P. F. Collier.
Raskin, Victor (1985) Semantic Mechanisms in Humor. Dordrecht, Reidel.
Uttley, Francis Lee (1971/73) “The Urban and Rural Jest.” Bealoideas, Nos. (39–41): 344–57.
Willmott, Peter (1963) The Evolution of a Community: A Study of Dagenham after 40 years. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.