Humor and Irony, Elusive Terms

In my own classroom, we often struggle with clarifying what constitutes humor in writing, how it is to be handled critically and how to write successfully about it. One (of many) complementary problems is being sure what we mean by irony.   These terms have long been a problem in the history of criticism and separating what is comic in a classical sense, what is ironic, what is funny  gives all of us problems with precision.

To help my students, I created a very basic powerpoint onto which we could begin to build further distinctions, examine what others have written about it and find ways to speak precisely about such genres as dramatic comedy, satire, wit, farce, slapstick and the like.  It does not give you a comprehensive discussion. On these matters, volumes have been written. Perhaps it will help you to start establishing some grounds upon which to build reliable and clear distinctions. I hope so.

Humor-Irony (PowerPoint)

Humor Irony (Keynote)

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