Can literature be funny? What is your favourite humorous literary book? is the question penned this time from the ladies of The Blue Bookcase ( Gilion from Rose City Reader ).
My answer to this is an resounding Yes, I mean where do you start – Don Quixote parts 1&2 (1605 – 1615), a 17th century Spitting Image sketch stretched to book length & a tale that had the Spanish developing severe bladder problems because of it’s cruelly funny take on the novels of chivalry, or how about “The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel” a connected series of five novels written in the 16th century by François Rabelais. A story of two giants, a father (Gargantua) and his son (Pantagruel) and their adventures, written in an amusing, extravagant, satirical vein. The text features much crudity, scatological humour and violence. Lists of explicit or vulgar insults fill several chapters, and is very very funny.
Readers, friends, if you turn these pages
Put your prejudice aside,
For, really, there's nothing here that's outrageous,
Nothing sick, or bad — or contagious.
Not that I sit here glowing with pride
For my book: all you'll find is laughter:
That's all the glory my heart is after,
Seeing how sorrow eats you, defeats you.
I'd rather write about laughing than crying,
For laughter makes men human, and courageous.
- BE HAPPY!
How about possibly the greatest stand up comedian, that never was, the 17th centuries Lenny Bruce, Dave Allen & Alexei Sayle, rolled into one vicious satirical comic master…….Ladies and gentlemen may I introduce you to, Francois-Marie Arouet (1694 – 1778), ok so he went under the stage name of Voltaire and is best known nowadays for Candide, a fantastic tale of human folly and parody, yet a glance through his other works reveal the same humour, my personal favourite is the Philosophical Dictionary. Jump forward a few centuries and you have Thomas Pynchon, his works are full of characters that are works of comic genius (Benny Profane-V), also Italo Calvino, I recently read & posted on If on a winters Night, A traveller, and was amazed at how funny it was, the sheer audacity of his writing and the way he played with the readers idea of a book. So Yes Literature can be funny, sometimes even the authors, that are considered SERIOUS, DIFFICULT, GENIUSES write funny books, not all but enough.