Jonathan Culler's introduction starts the book off in great form, with wordplay and references to folk etymologies, Shakespeare, and Milton. Things get more challenging in Frederick Ahl's essay on puns and anagrams in Greek and Latin poetry, but in a good way—recognizing wordplay in ancient texts leads to greater understanding. R.A. Shoaf carries the same kinds of insights into Middle English poetry, especially Chaucer. Krystian Czerniecki focuses on "The Jest Disgested," a mouthful of puns in Shakespeare's Henry V
, and Debra Freed looks at correspondences of rhyme and puns not only in Shakespeare but also in Pope and Housman. In chapter 6, though, Freud and Lacan make a major appearance in Joel Fineman's essay, along with Derrida, and the challenge starts getting too much for me. I enjoyed, if that's the word, Avital Ronell's punning essay on Freud, the Rat Man, and suppositories, but the last three essays have way too much Lacan, Derrida, and Finnegans Wake
for me. Much to think about, anyway.
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