Humour in Chinese Life and Letters

By Helen Wang, published

Humour in Chinese Life and Letters – Classical and Traditional Approaches, ed. by Jocelyn Chey and Jessica Milner Davis, Hong Kong University Press, 2011.

Abstract: How do Chinese societies approach humour in personal life and in the public sphere? This book addresses the etymological difficulties of "humour" as a concept in Chinese language and explores connections and contrasts with Western styles of humour. Periods discussed range from earliest times to the beginning of the twentieth century, covering many different forms of humour - verbal, visual and behavioural. The book brings together internationally respected scholars in Chinese studies with other specialists to explore humour through modes of enquiry in cultural and political history, linguistics, literature, drama and the history and philosophy of science.

The unifying focus of the book is humour and laughter in their many forms in Chinese tradition and culture. Chapters are written in a common style. Readers more generally interested in humour and laughter — not well-understood forms of human behaviour — will also find the book casts light on significant differences in their concepts and practice between cultures.

-- Preface – Jocelyn Chey and Jessica Milner Davis
-- Youmo and the Chinese Sense of Humour – Jocelyn Chey
-- The Theory of Humours and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Preamble to Chapter 3 – Jessica Milner Davis
-- The Qi That Got Lost in Translation: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Humour and Healing – Rey Tiquia
-- The Classical Confucian Concepts of Human Emotion and Proper Humour – Weihe Xu
-- Identifying Daoist Humour: Reading the Liezi – Shirley Chan
-- Shared Humour: Elitist Joking in Shishuo xinyu (A New Account of Tales of the World) – Lily Xiao Hong Lee
-- Chinese Humour as Reflected in Love-Theme Comedies of the Yuan Dynasty – Andy Shui-lung and Zhan Hang-lun
-- How Humour Humanizes a Confucian Paragon: The Case of Xue Baochai in Honglou meng - Weihe Xu
-- Contextualizing Lin Yutang’s essay “On Humour”: Introduction and Translation – Joseph C. Sample
-- Discovering Humour in Modern China: The Launching of the Analects Fortnightly Journal and the “Year of Humour” (1933) – Qian Suoqiao


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