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Age of Irreverence – A New History of Laughter in China - California Scholarship Online
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Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China

Christopher Rea


The Age of Irreverence tells why China’s entry into the modern age was not just traumatic but also uproarious. As the Qing dynasty slumped toward extinction, prominent writers compiled jokes into collections they called “histories of laughter.” During the first years of the Republic, novelists, essayists, and illustrators used humorous allegories to make veiled critiques of the new government. But political and cultural discussion repeatedly erupted into invective, as critics jeered and derided rivals in public. Farceurs drew followings in the popular press, promoting a culture of practical jo ... More

Keywords: modern China, laughter, humor, literature, cultural history, print culture, parody, farce, comedy, cartoons and comics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780520283848
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2016 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520283848.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Christopher Rea, author