“The Pun Also Rises” by John Pollack

August 18, 2011 Uncategorized 0

Puns are everywhere, from Shakespeare (“Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun of York”) to marketing (a camping store’s off-season slogan: “Now is the winter of our discount tent”.)   In The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Word Play More than Some Antics, John Pollack explores the how, why, and when of puns, what makes them work and why they make us laugh (or groan.)  Ranging from religious uses of puns in ancient Sumer and Israel to Greek, Roman, and Elizabethan wordplay to how the brain interprets puns, the book provides a fun and fascinating glimpse into the workings of the lowly pun. In addition to many wonderful examples from historic and literary sources,  Pollack, a former World Pun Champion and inveterate punster, has scattered his own puns liberally throughout the text.  Take your time and read this book at a oral/aural pace, or you’re likely to miss many of them.

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