On Eating Cake: Joke Semiotics

I. A. Ruffell

in Politics and Anti-Realism in Athenian Old Comedy

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199587216
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731297 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

On Eating Cake: Joke Semiotics

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This chapter argues that the joke is the device through which Old Comedy needs to be approached. It discusses the place of humour in Aristophanic interpretation and relates analysis of the joke to more literary analyses of Aristophanes through privileged tropes and figures, particularly metaphor. On theoretical and practical grounds (via a study of oracles in Knights), the joke is presented as the superset of such tropical and figural humour. Building on this analysis and engaging with humour theory (Freud, Raskin, Palmer), cognitive linguistics (especially Lakoff) and semiotics (Eco), a theory of the joke is elaborated which is the basis for future chapters.

Keywords: joke; metaphor; allegory; personification; Knights; oracles; humour theory; semiotics

Chapter.  27180 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Literature

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