Merry Wives and Others

A History of Domestic Humor Writing

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SKU: 9780786413058 Categories: , ,

About the Book

In many ways, the history of domestic humor writing is also a history of domestic life in the twentieth century. For many years, domestic humor was written primarily by females; significant contributions from male writers began as times and family structures changed. It remains timeless because of its basis on the relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, houses and inhabitants, pets and their owners, chores and their doers, and neighbors.
This work is a historical and literary survey of humorists who wrote about home. It begins with a chapter on the social context of and attitudes toward traditional domestic roles and housewives. The following chapters, beginning with the 1920s and continuing through today, cover the different time periods and the foremost American domestic humorists, and the humor written by surrogate parents, grown children about their childhood families, husbands, and Canadian and English writers. Also covered are the differences among various writers toward traditional domestic roles—some, like Erma Bombeck and Judith Viorst, embraced them, while others, like Caryl Kristenson and Marilyn Kentz, resisted them. Common themes, such as the isolation and competitiveness of housework, home as an idealized metaphysical goal and ongoing physical challenge, and the urban, suburban, and rural life, are also explored.

About the Author(s)

Penelope Fritzer is an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Davie campus. She lives in Coral Springs.
Bartholomew Bland is the director of exhibitions at the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences. He lives in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Penelope Fritzer and Bartholomew Bland
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1305-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8064-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1 Social Context     3

2 Laying the Foundationnbsp;    13

3 Midcentury Merry Wives     35

4 Queen Erma and Her Early Contemporaries     51

5 The Next Wave     76

6 The Current Crop: Postmodernists and Traditionalists     101

7 Husbandly Humor I: In the Beginning     141

8 Husbandly Humor II: Contemporary Comics     154

9 Through the Eyes of a Child     179

10 The Christian Contingent     190

11 Curiouser and Curiouser     199

12 Canadian Writers     215

13 British Writers     226

14 Making the Connections     235

Bibliography       241

Index       255

Book Reviews & Awards

“informative…recommended”—Choice.