Humour is a key feature, laughter a central element, disrespect a vital textual strategy of postcolonial transcultural practice. Devices such as irony, parody, and subversion, can be subsumed under an interventionist stance and have accordingly received some critical attention. But literary and cultural postcolonial criticism has been marked by a restraint verging on the pious towards the wider significance and functions of laughter. This collection transcends such orthodoxies: laughter can constitute an intervention – but it can also function otherwise. The essays collected here take an interest in the strategic use of what can loosely be termed laughter – in all its manifestations. Examining postcolonial transcultural practice from a range of disciplinary and methodological perspectives, this study seeks to analyse laughter and the postcolonial in their complexity.
For the first time, then, this collection gathers a group of international specialists in postcolonial transcultural studies to analyse the functions of laughter, the comic and humour in a wide range of cultural texts. Contributors work on texts from Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, the Caribbean, and Britain, reading work by authors such as Zakes Mda, Timothy Mo, VS Naipaul, and Zadie Smith. This interdisciplinary collection is a contribution to both, postcolonial studies and humour theory.
"Cheeky Fictions draws attention to an area in postcolonial theory that has been neglected and keeps its promise of connecting insightful critical readings of postcolonial laughter across its differences while proving to be quite an enjoyable and chuckle-provoking read." - in: Anglistik, Vol. 18, No. 1 (2007)
"…the volume is a valuable contribution to postcolonial studies. A wide variety of literatures and other media is covered and the intended diversity is indeed a strength of the book, underlining the richness of postcolonial literatures and discourses." - in: Archiv, Vol. 244, No. 1 (2007)
Susanne REICHL/Mark STEIN: Introduction
I. Laughter’s double vision – Humour and cultural ambiguity
Ulrike ERICHSEN: Smiling in the face of adversity: How to use humour to defuse cultural conflict
Anthony ILONA: ‘Laughing through the tears’: Mockery and self-representation in V.S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas and Earl Lovelace’s The Dragon Can’t Dance Virginia RICHTER: Laughter and aggression: Desire and derision in a postcolonial context
Helga RAMSEY-KURZ: Humouring the terrorists or the terrorised? Militant Muslims in Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, and Hanif Kureishi
II. Traditions and transgressions – Writing back and forth
Heinz ANTOR: Postcolonial laughter in Canada: Mordecai Richler’s The Incomparable Atuk Susan LEVER: The colonizer’s gift of cursing: Satire in David Foster’s Moonlite Michael MEYER: Swift and Sterne revisited: Postcolonial parodies in Rushdie and Singh-Toor
Detlef GOHRBANDT: After-laughter, or the comedy of decline: Ronald Searle’s critique of postwar Englishness in The Rake’s Progress III. Ethnic cabaret – A license to laugh?
Mita BANERJEE: Queer laughter: Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy and the normative as comic
Astrid FELLNER/Klaus HEISSENBERGER: ‘I was born in East L.A.’: Humour and the displacement of nationality and ethnicity
Christiane SCHLOTE: ‘The sketch’s the thing wherein we’ll catch the conscience of the audience’: Strategies and pitfalls of ethnic TV comedies in Britain, the United States, and Germany
IV. The language of humour – The humour of language
Margit OZVALDA: Worlds apart: Schools in postcolonial Indian fiction
Susanne PICHLER: Interculturality and humour in Timothy Mo’s Sour Sweet Susanne MÜHLEISEN: What makes an accent funny, and why? Black British Englishes and humour televised
V. Laughing it off – Does therapeutic humour work?
Maggie Ann BOWERS: ‘Ethnic glue’: Humour in Native American literatures
Annie GAGIANO: Using a comic vision to contend with tragedy: Three unusual African English novels
Gisela FEURLE: Madam & Eve – Ten Wonderful Years: A cartoon strip and its role in post-apartheid South Africa
Wendy WOODWARD: Laughing back at the kingfisher: Zakes Mda’s The Heart of Redness and postcolonial humour