The Old World and the New: Negotiating Past, Present, and Future in Anglo-American Humour, 1880-1900

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    Abstract

    BOB NICHOLSON, in a transatlantic comparison of late-Victorian usage of history in newspaper joke columns and comic novels, observes a struggle on the part of Britain to come to terms with America’s increasing economic and cultural superiority. Thus, joke writers and literary humorists tended to “juxtapose images of the American future with those of an idealised British past” and emphasised the “centrality of history to British national identity at a time when the country’s future was beginning to look increasingly uncertain.” This uncertainty may also be observed in the fact that British humorists turned to the past in the attempt to reaffirm British superiority, yet the popular reception of transatlantic humour at the same time indicates an acceptance of modern American culture in Britain.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHistory and Humour: British and American Perspectives
    EditorsBarbara Korte, Doris Lechner
    Place of PublicationBielefeld
    PublisherTranscript
    Pages151-170
    ISBN (Print)9783837625936
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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