Humor and comedy are an integral part of our lives, inviting us to take pleasure at any moment. In Taking Humour Seriously, Jerry Palmer argues that humor must be taken seriously--as well as in it's "native state"--or else we fail to understand a fundamental dimension of our aesthetic and social culture.
Palmer's book unravels the many-faceted nature of humor--as part of our personalities, our cognitive and emotional processes, and as subject to the social rules which govern our behavior on different occasions. It is an essential element of literary and visual narrative, subject to moral and aesthetic judgement and used as a rhetorical instrument. Taking Humour Seriously contends that only when these separate elements are analyzed can we approach an understanding of humor.
The book examines the role of humor and comedy in different societies, and the methods of study used--from Freud to anthropology, from literary criticism to biology. It finally examines those things which prevent enjoyment of humour, and explores the values of comedic enjoyment.