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The Oxford History of Popular Print CultureVolume Six: US Popular Print Culture 1860-1920$
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Christine Bold

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199234066

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199234066.001.0001

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The Humour Industry

The Humour Industry

Chapter:
(p.357) Chapter 17 The Humour Industry
Source:
The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture
Author(s):

Michael H. Epp

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199234066.003.0018

This chapter explores the emergence of humour as a popular genre and its role in the development of mass culture in the United States during the period 1860–1920. It also considers the ways in which the humour industry engaged in ‘struggles over hierarchies of identity and economic profit’ in the era of the mass market, along with the rationalisation of popular humour production at print institutions such as magazines and newspapers. The chapter first provides an overview of the field of American Humor Studies before turning to a discussion of the social, economic, and political dimensions of various interests pursued by the humour industry during the period. It then looks at the articulation of humour to advertising, along with the success of illustrated humour and the emergence of comic strips. Finally, it examines the role played by two popular writers, Mark Twain and Marietta Holley, in the humour industry.

Keywords:   humour, mass culture, humour industry, mass market, American Humor Studies, advertising, illustrated humour, comic strips, Mark Twain, Marietta Holley

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