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D'oh! Humor expert to discuss Mark Twain's influence on pop culture

Judith Yaross LeeJudith Yaross Lee, right, professor of communication studies at Ohio University, will discuss the connections between Mark Twain’s influence on standup comedy and contemporary graphic humor found in popular animated cartoons as part of the American Studies Colloquium lecture 3:30 p.m. April 19 at the Willis Library, Forum.

Her free lecture,  “Twain’s Vernacular Vision and the Visual Vernacular,” analyzes the modern humor styling of television show The Simpsons, graphic novel One Hundred Demons and comic strip The Boondocks.

“Twain wrote in many moods and many types of works, from silly burlesques to very dark philosophical works and political satires, so I always find something new to read or appreciate from his body of writing,” Lee said.

Lee is an expert on literary rhetoric with a specialized interest in American humor in the media across several time periods. She is the recipient of numerous awards and the author of many books, including Defining New Yorker Humor. She is currently working on her next book, titled Twain’s Brand: Humor and Contemporary American Culture, which observes the connection between 19th century literature and graphic animated cartoons. 

“’Twain’s Brand’ probes four hallmarks of Mark Twain’s humor that live on in today’s stand-up comedy, literary humor, cartoons, and the brand-name humor business to show the significance of humor in contemporary American life and the global information economy,” Lee said.

Past American Studies Colloquium lecturers include Stacy Alaimo of the University of Texas at Arlington and postdoctoral research associate Spencer D.C. Keralis. The lecture series was created in 2011 to spark discussions about the literature and culture of the Americas among faculty and undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Learn more: Kelly Wisecup, assistant professor of English, 940-565-2635.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies, Department of English and the Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity.

Posted on: Wed 18 April 2012

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