This chapter considers the place of joke-writing and joke-telling in Victorian culture. Firstly, it outlines four ways in which Victorian observers accounted for the creation of jokes: (1) the work of anonymous professional humourists; (2) the observation and comic reinterpretation of real-life incidents; (3) spontaneous wit and (4) the endurance of seemingly ‘eternal’ jokes. Next, it considers how and why jokes were performed at Victorian social occasions, such as dinner parties, and explores their function as a form of conversational capital. Finally, the chapter traces the mass circulation of jokes in popular Victorian newspapers and magazines. As a case study, it tracks the reprinting of jokes from a single issue of Punch magazine and considers the ambiguous copyright status of these texts.
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Nicholson, B. (2020). ‘Capital Company’: Writing and Telling Jokes in Victorian Britain. In: Lee, L. (eds) Victorian Comedy and Laughter. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-57882-2_5
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London
Print ISBN: 978-1-137-57881-5
Online ISBN: 978-1-137-57882-2