Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

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Jesters and fools have existed as important and consistent figures in nearly all cultures.

Top 10 influential jesters and fools

Sometimes referred to as clowns, they are typological characters who have conventional roles in the arts, often using nonsense to subvert existing order. But fools are also a part of social and religious history, and they frequently play key roles in the rituals that support and shape a society's system of beliefs. This reference book includes alphabetically arranged entries for approximately 60 fools and jesters from a wide range of cultures.

The Mandé Ritual Clown

Each begins with a biographical, artistic, religious, or historical background section, which places the subject within a larger cultural and historical context. A description and analysis follow. This section may include a discussion of the fool's appearance, gender role, ethical and moral roles, social function, and relationship to such themes as nature, time, and mortality.

The entry then discusses the critical reception of the subject and concludes with an extensive bibliography of general works.

Teaching Interests

A must for all reader levels. This work is highly recommended for its extensive coverage and a scholarly, yet readable analysis of who or what makes us laugh--and why.? By taking fools seriously and by recognizing their value in cultural criticism, the editor has performed a monumental service to the state of learning; fools point to the instability of language and the fallibility of reason, ' and they hold secrets of their societies.

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