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The Philosophy of Humour By Paul McDonald
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Comic novelist and critic Paul McDonald explores the philosophy of humour in a book that will appeal to philosophers and creative writers alike. One aim of this book is to assess theories of humour... More > and laughter. It concentrates mainly on philosophical approaches to humour— including those of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Descartes, Hobbes, Bergson, Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Freud and Bakhtin, but also explores such fields as cultural studies, literary theory, religion, psychoanalysis, and psychology; this broad focus makes for a richer account of humour, its relationship with philosophical thought, and its bearing on the human condition. Readers are invited to engage in creative writing exercises designed to exploit this crucial facet of humour, and to help them explore relevant issues imaginatively. In this way they will deepen their understanding of those issues, whilst at the same time cultivating their own creative skills.< Less
Reading 'Catch-22' By Paul McDonald
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Comic novelist and critic, Paul McDonald, provides an accessible, revealing guide to Joseph Heller’s seminal anti-war novel, Catch-22. McDonald succinctly contextualises the book both in... More > relation to the author’s life, and key developments in modern American literature. The book offers a thorough summary and analysis of the plot, addresses important characters such as Colonel Cathcart, Milo Minderbinder, Major Major, and Doc Daneeka, and explains the various ways in which Yossarian’s hilarious predicament has been interpreted. Among other things it considers Yossarian’s status as a mythic hero, an individualist hero, and a postmodern hero, assessing his relevance to contemporary America, and his re-emergence in the sequel to Catch-22, Closing Time, published in 1994. It also offers a descriptive bibliography of important secondary sources, and links to useful online texts. Paul McDonald is Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Course Leader for Creative Writing at the University of Wolverhampton.< Less
Reading Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' By Paul McDonald
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Toni Morrison’s ground-breaking novel, 'Beloved', is one of the most successful novels of all time, selling millions of copies internationally and inspiring critical commentary from scholars of... More > the highest distinction. Its influence is such that it is studied by students of literature around the world and is often cited as one of the most significant books of modern times. However, its popularity belies its difficulty: many find the novel hard to read, struggling with its structure and occasionally fragmented style. This guide accessible, illuminating guide is designed to help readers engage with this complex work and achieve a deeper understanding of its context, the literary strategies it employs, and the various ways in which it has been interpreted since its publication in 1987. Paul McDonald is Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Course Leader for Creative Writing at the University of Wolverhampton, and is the author of eleven books, including three poetry collections and three comic novels.< Less
Laughing at the Darkness: Postmodernism and Optimism in American Humour By Paul McDonald
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Paul McDonald’s book is the second in the Humanities Ebooks Contemporary American Literature Series, edited by Christopher Gair and Aliki Varvogli. Given that postmodernism has been associated... More > with doubt, chaos, relativism and the disappearance of reality, it may appear difficult to reconcile with American optimism. Laughing at the Darkness demonstrates that this is not always the case. In examining the work of, among others, Sherman Alexie, Woody Allen, Douglas Coupland, Jonathan Safran Foer, Bill Hicks, David Mamet, and Philip Roth, McDonald shows how American humourists bring their comedy to bear on some of the negative implications of philosophical postmodernism and, in so doing, explore ways of reclaiming value. Paul McDonald is the author of three other HEB titles, The Philosophy of Humour, Reading Morrison's Beloved, and Reading Heller's Catch-22, all available from Lulu.< Less
Philip Roth through the Lens of Kepesh By Paul McDonald & Samantha Roden
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The Kepesh trilogy spans three decades of Philip Roth’s career, beginning with The Breast in 1972, and continuing with the Professor of Desire in 1977 and The Dying Animal in 2001. This study... More > demonstrates that the trilogy is not only worthy of critical analysis in its own right, but also that an appreciation of its themes and strategies deepens our understanding of his entire fictional enterprise, offering an invaluable perspective on one of the world’s most important novelists. Paul McDonald works at the University of Wolverhampton where he is Senior Lecturer in American Literature, and Course Leader for Creative Writing. Among his other HEB titles are The Philosophy of Humour (2012), and Reading Beloved (2014). Samantha Roden is a Lead Practitioner for English at North East Wolverhampton Academy. She writes educational resources, digital pedagogical guides and conducts national webinars for Cambridge University Press. Her first full collection of poetry, Catch Ourselves in Glass, is forthcoming.< Less

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