Twelve Jokes from (if not by) Sigmund Freud

In 1905, Sigmund Freud published his book-length study, Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious. Here are some of the jokes Freud includes as part of his analysis, in the order in which they appear in the book.

Source: The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud. Translated and Edited by A. A. Brill, New York: The Modern Library, 1995 (orig. 1938). Except where noted, I have tinkered with Brill’s versions of the jokes without affecting Freud’s (or Henny Youngman’s) accompanying propositions, the subject of a forthcoming post.

Continue Reading

Top Ten Literary Theory Tips, for Anyone

This weekend Chicago will host the annual convention of the Modern Language Association (MLA). This year’s gathering will attract more than nine thousand literary scholars and students from around the world, each more eager than the other to make sense of such papers as “Chupacabras and Border Crossings,” “Creative Ontogenesis in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology,” “Making Sheep Sheepy,” and “Fifty Shades of Collaboration.” (Yes, these are real titles.) But why should they have all the fun? Here is a top ten list of literary principles for everyday readers to enjoy.

Continue Reading