Research Council - Backup mandate Anthony Many: Towards a model for nineteenth-century humour in lyric texts : A conceptual study and an analysis of eight nineteenth-century lyric works

Project Details


While many satirical and romantic ironic works from nineteenthcentury literature have been studied, little research has gone into ‘purely humorous’ lyric, i.e. non-serious lyric that primarily amuses or communicates emotions without an underlying philosophy. This research seeks to create a model for such humour. The corpus consists of eight works from four language areas in ineteenthcentury
Europe. Nineteenth-century humour reflects the growing importance of subjectivity and expresses an author’s psychology as a playful romantic genius, a clever observer or a fun-loving sympathetic figure. Dominant textual humour models, such as the General Theory of Verbal Humour, have often strived for a more objective scientificity, putting however little emphasis on lingual creativity superseding the ordinary phrasing of jokes. This makes them unsuitable for poetic analysis.
My model shall combine ideas from dominant humour models with ideas from cognitive literary theory. Firstly, existing criticism towards structuralism in literary theory will allow for a discussion on the limitations of a model striving for objectivity when faced with humorous subjectivity. Secondly, the model will
furthermore reconcile the evolution of humour theory towards the objectivity
of cognitive research with literary scholars’ goal to account for not every day lingual creativity. The proposed research can lead to new insights on what characterizes poetic humour, especially in nineteenth-century lyric texts.
Short title or EU acronymBackup mandate
Effective start/end date1/11/1931/10/20


  • literature
  • humour

Flemish discipline codes

  • Literatures in Dutch
  • Literatures in French