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No Joke: Making Jewish Humor (Library of Jewish Ideas (4)) Hardcover – June 2, 2013

3.7 out of 5 stars 41 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"Honorable Mention for the 2013 PROSE Award in Language & Linguistics, Association of American Publishers"

"[S]ubtle and provocative."---Anthony Gottlieb, New York Times Book Review

"No Joke is a thought-provoking compilation of humorous stories woven almost seamlessly with history, and interpretive analysis. The author keeps it personal--sometimes moving comfortably into a relaxed and chatty tone--and she keeps it real."---Martin A. David, New York Journal of Books

"From 19th century writer Heinrich Heine to the Post's own Joey Adams to Philip Roth and even Larry David, scholars and popular readers alike will find food for thought--and laughs--in Wisse's analysis of this oft-illicit genre."---Billy Heller, New York Post

"Because Jewish humor arose in response to specific conditions of living, Wisse organizes chapters around locales and times: Germany, the Anglosphere, fascism (Hitler and Stalin) and modern Israel. Wisse calls humor the only folk art that isn't copyrighted.", Christian Century

"No Joke is a remarkable combination of scholarship and current concerns, written in elegant prose, which can be enjoyed three times: first, for the humor; second, for the erudition; and finally and most important, for its moral vision."---Rick Richman, Commentary

"Wisse, arguably the foremost Yiddishist in North America, has produced a jewel of a book on Jewish humor, replete with academic erudition and often side-splitting jokes. She is equally at home in the works of Heinrich Heine, Sholem Aleichem, I.B. Singer, the Israelis, and Philip Roth, as well as among Borscht Belt comedians in the Catskills, or with Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. . . . This is a wise, well-written, and unique analysis of why Jews laugh.", Choice

"[No Joke] is a dialogue of Wisse's powerful and agile mind with itself, frequently expressed in balanced, antithetical sentences that have the epigrammatic power of couplets by Alexander Pope."---Edward Alexander, Chicago Jewish Star

"No Joke: Making Jewish Humor is the perfect combination of the scholarly and the populist, with some excellent jokes thrown in--not least that at the foot of page 122 (you need to buy the book!) which while old still hasn't lost its comic power. Enjoy, enjoy: what's not to like!"---Dr Charles H. Middleburgh, Middleburgh Blog

"[Ruth Wisse] has produced an excellent treatise about Jewish comedy in all of its forms, focusing her gaze on how it has changed and responded to the shifting landscape of Jewish powerlessness."---Elaine Margolin, Jerusalem Post


"The funniest thing since we let the goyim into show business."―David Mamet

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1 pounds
  • Hardcover : 296 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780691149462
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0691149462
  • Product Dimensions : 5.75 x 1 x 8.75 inches
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press; 1st Edition (June 2, 2013)
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : 0691149461
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.7 out of 5 stars 41 ratings
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