Thursday, March 03, 2011

Literary and Funny?

Literary Blog Hop

This week’s Literary Blog Hop asks: “Can literature be funny? What is your favorite humorous literary book?”

I think any story can be funny or at least have elements of humour. Douglas Coupland’s Eleanor Rigby and The Gum Thief are great novels that I consider literary and they have moments of being funny, but they aren’t funny stories. I agree with Lucia’s response also; Pride and Prejudice is full of humour. Shakespeare is a literary giant and Taming Of The Shrew is a fantastic and hilarious piece of work, not to mention his other comedies.

However, when I think of funny books, where then entire story has the reader laughing, I think more of Chick Lit or even types of Contemporary Fantasy. So just from experience, literature can of course be funny, but the overall book is not usually thought of as humourous.

Who agrees/disagrees?


  1. Have you ever read anything by Robertson Davies? I find several of his books to be laugh-out-loud funny, despite being "literary".
    I, personally, don't tend to find Chick Lit to be very funny...

  2. Coupland: Great response! And Davies too.
    How about T.C. Boyle or Margaret Atwood for comedy with a bite to it?

  3. Shakespeare & Jane Austen are classic humourists disguised as literary giants ;) I picked Bridget Jones's Diary, which I don't consider as purely "chick lit" because it's too good to be that limited.

  4. Anonymous3/3/11 17:44

    Sometimes the funnies sneak up on us in literature because we don't expect it.

  5. I completely agree. Before I started reading classics, I thought they were boring, usually with depressing endings. Jane Austen and Charles Dickens changed my mind, though.

    I've only read Hamlet, but Shakespeare's humor shines through it even if it's a tragedy. I intend to check out his comedies this year. :)

  6. I've only read one Coupland book - Generation X - and I've always wanted to try another one. Thanks for the suggestions.

    See my hop here:

  7. I don't know. I think a book can be mostly humorous and still literary. It's also hard to judge what's funny to one person is not so much to others. I rarely laugh out loud at a book, but still find them funny. Thanks for hopping by.

  8. like Coupland, and think there is a lot of humour in the classics & in authors considered contemporary, recently read Italo Calvino's if on a winters night, which amazed me with the unexpected humour in it.

  9. Literary people know: Literature is not Funny. It is Serious.

    I sought out expert advice.

    Here is my post:

  10. Satirical literature is funny. Mordecai Richler definitely had that down to a science. Can't say I agree with you on Austen, though.