A Joke in Dickens

Alfie Bown (University of Manchester) In his relatively recent book on humour Simon Critchley writes that ‘it is important to recognize that not all humour is [liberating], and most of the best jokes are fairly reactionary, or at best, simply serve to reinforce social consensus.’[1] Thus, for Critchley, as for much other joke theory, there are two types of joke; the reactionary on the one hand and the radical or liberatory on the other. Dickens’s jokes, I argue, complicate this

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