Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 460
In Laughter: A Scientific Investigation , published in 2000, neurobiologist Robert R. Provine examines humor as a function of social relationships. Using research from various social field experiments and exploring past ideas from such noted psychoanalysts as Sigmund Freud Provine presents laughter in all its forms and even distinguishes between...
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In Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, published in 2000, neurobiologist Robert R. Provine examines humor as a function of social relationships. Using research from various social field experiments and exploring past ideas from such noted psychoanalysts as Sigmund Freud Provine presents laughter in all its forms and even distinguishes between laughter and smiles. It also includes a section on neural disorders that are associated with laughter and the types of laughter therapy used by some psychologists today.
Twain was one of the most noted American humorists during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when many of his writings were published in magazines like the Atlantic Monthly. In 1925, ten years after Twain's death, Harold Ross founded The New Yorker, a magazine that would help to define humor in the modern era. In Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from "The New Yorker,'' editors David Remnick and Henry Finder collect the writings of more than seventy New Yorker contributors, including such noted humorists as Woody Allen James Thurber Dorothy Parker and Steve Martin.
Although Jon Scieszka' s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (1993) is technically a children's book, its brand of unique and irreverent humor has delighted people of all ages. The book parodies well-known fairy tales and themes, such as the ugly duckling, through the use of a mischievous narrator who even parodies the book itself.
The Bible according to Mark Twain: Irreverent Writings on Eden, Heaven, and the Flood by America's Master Satirist, published in 1996, collects a number of Twain's irreverent views on institutionalized religion. However, even though they are staged in a humorous context, Twain's parodies of religion pose some serious, thought-provoking questions, and reveal Twain's intimate knowledge of the Bible.
Although Twain's dark side normally manifested itself through his biting humor, sometimes the author was just plain dark. In The Devil's Racetrack: Mark Twain's Great Dark Writings, published in 1981, the author explores the less pleasant aspects of humanity, such as disease and death, in a realistic fashion—without the humor that normally made these topics palatable to his readers.
Some of Twain's short stories were not well-received by the critics because of their raucous and bawdy content, which sometimes broke social taboos. In fact, Twain was noted for misbehaving in real life, a fact that showed up in his writings. Mark Twain's Book for Bad Boys and Girls, published in 1995, collects many of Twain's essays, sketches, and stories that exalt misbehaving.
Mark Twain's Roughing It, published in 1872, is one of his many semi-autobiographical accounts that he wrote about his travels. In this case, Twain writes about his journey to and daily life in the developing American West. The book displays the rustic, Western style of humor that would characterize many of Twain's later stories.