Contemporary Black Humor Criticism: Development And History - Essay

John D. Erickson (essay date fall 1988)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Erickson, John D. “Surrealist Black Humor as Oppositional Discourse.” Symposium 42, no. 3 (fall 1988): 198-215.

[In the following essay, Erickson analyzes black humor in the context of André Breton's model of a new literary discourse, as it was outlined in his Anthologie de l'humour noir, focusing on the circumstances that lead to the creation of black humor.]

Le problème de l'action sociale n'est … qu'une des formes d'un problème plus général que le surréalisme s'est mis en devoir de soulever et qui est celui de l'expression humaine sous toutes ses formes. Qui dit expression dit, pour commencer, langage,” wrote André Breton in his...

(The entire section is 8623 words.)

Steven Weisenburger (essay date 1995)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Weisenburger, Steven. “What Was Black Humor?” In Fables of Subversion: Satire and the American Novel, 1930-1980, pp. 80-121. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1995.

[In the following excerpt, Weisenburger explains that many intellectuals viewed black humorists as writers who had wasted the force of their words with overuse of the same banal sentiments they sought to satirize. Instead, Weisenburger feels it is important to reevaluate the place of black humor in the field of American literary studies, placing it in context with other postmodern movements.]

Not many years ago the Black Humorists were rogue talents trampling the conventions of narrative...

(The entire section is 21665 words.)