What's So Funny? Absurdist Humour in Absurdist Fiction from a Cognitive Perspective

  • Arteel, Inge (Administrative Promotor)
  • Couder, Olivier (Mandate)

Project Details


The project examines the use of a specific type of humour in absurdist novels, which will be defined as absurdist humour. By combining cognitive humour theory with recent cognitive literary theory, specifically schema-theory, the project seeks to provide insight into the mechanisms of absurdist humour. Specific instances of absurdist humour will be explored through examination of a corpus of absurdist fiction, consisting of four American novels. This will in turn enhance our understanding of how absurdist humour influences the experience and interpretation of absurdist literature. Integrating schema-theory and humour theory offers the advantage that it can account for all the aspects important to the interpretation of absurdist humour in literary text, i.e. the text (on the level of style and content), the reader and the context. The emphasis of the project on the process of interpretation and the analysis of an actual corpus of absurdist novels also goes beyond the scope of traditional humour theory research which tends to limit itself to short and often specifically designed jokes. In that way the project will shed more light on one of literature and everyday life's greatest pleasures.
Effective start/end date1/10/14 → 30/09/18


  • linguistique et littérature
  • linguistics and literature

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Comparative literature studies


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