Rationale of the Dirty Joke, 1969

Gershon Legman 

To carefully observe the everyday, the tasteless or what is rendered politically incorrect is vital to train the critical mind: surround yourself with what you are scared of or despise, rather than seek confirmation of what you already know and like.

Consciously patterned on Freud’s Wit and the Unconscious, this voluminous study by ‘the James Joyce of folklore’ analyzes over 2000 jokes and folk-tales as being most typical and significant. The extraordinary format used gives equal emphasis to all texts discussed, authentically transcribed in all their innocent and sometimes violent unexpurgaiety, and looks at what these jokes mean to the people who tell them and to the people who listen and laugh.


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