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Laughter, contemporary theory suggests, is often aggressive in some manner and may be prompted by a sudden perception of incongruity combined with memories of past emotional experience. Given this importance of the past to our recognition of the comic, it follows that some "traditions" dispose us to ludic responses. The studies in Of Corpse: Death and Humor in Folklore and Popular Culture examine specific interactions of text (jokes, poetry, epitaphs, iconography, film drama) and social context (wakes, festivals, disasters) that shape and generate laughter. Uniquely, however, the essays here peruse a remarkable paradox---the convergence of death and humor.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. CONTENTS
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  2. p. vii
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  1. INTRODUCTION: The Death-Humor Paradox
  2. pp. 1-12
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  1. PART ONE Disaster Jokes
  1. 1 JOKES THAT FOLLOW MASS-MEDIATED DISASTERS IN A GLOBAL ELECTRONIC AGE
  2. pp. 15-34
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  1. 2 MAKING A BIG APPLE CRUMBLE: The Role of Humor in Constructing a Global Response to Disaster
  2. pp. 35-80
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  1. PART TWO Rites of Passage
  1. 3 CREATING SITUATIONS: Practical Jokes and the Revival of the Dead in Irish Tradition
  2. pp. 83-112
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  1. 4 TRICKS AND FUN: Subversive Pleasures at Newfoundland Wakes
  2. pp. 113-139
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  1. 5 "PARDON ME FOR NOT STANDING": Modern American Graveyard Humor
  2. pp. 140-168
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  1. PART THREE Festivals
  1. 6 WISHES COME TRUE: Designing the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
  2. pp. 171-197
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  1. 7 MAKING MERRY WITH DEATH: Iconic Humor in Mexico’s Day of the Dead
  2. pp. 198-220
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  1. 8 CALAVERAS: Literary Humor in Mexico’s Day of the Dead
  2. pp. 221-238
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  1. 9 EXIT LAUGHING Death and Laughter in Los Angeles and Port-au-Prince
  2. pp. 239-260
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  1. PART FOUR Popular Culture
  1. 10 DANCING SKELETONS: The Subversion of Death Among Deadheads
  2. pp. 263-293
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  1. 11 TRADITIONAL NARRATIVE, POPULAR AESTHETICS, WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S, AND VERNACULAR CINEMA
  2. pp. 294-310
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  1. NOTES
  2. pp. 311-334
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  1. REFERENCES
  2. pp. 335-351
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  1. CONTRIBUTORS
  2. pp. 352-353
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  1. INDEX
  2. pp. 354-358
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