Stanley Trachtenberg (essay date spring 1973)
SOURCE: Trachtenberg, Stanley. “Counterhumor: Comedy in Contemporary American Fiction.” Georgia Review 27, no. 1 (spring 1973): 33-48.
[In the following essay, Trachtenberg discusses the emergence of a dark comic mode in American fiction during the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on common themes in the works of Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut.]
“Look,” an exasperated Ralph Ellison once demanded of an interviewer whose questions about Invisible Man concentrated on significance, “didn't you find the book at all funny?” Considering what happens in the novel, the question itself seems comic. Real or symbolic episodes of incest, murder, an attempted lobotomy,...
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