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dc.contributor.advisor Meachen Clive Kaufman, William Kenneth 2010-06-24T08:42:26Z 2010-06-24T08:42:26Z 1984
dc.identifier.citation Kaufman, W. K. (1984) 'Mark Twain, Lenny Bruce, and Kurt Vonnegut: The comedian as confidence man', PhD thesis, Department of English and Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University en
dc.description.abstract This thesis attempts to establish three American comedians and social critics as confidence men whose artistic manipulations allow them to issue warning and criticism under the guise of humourous entertainment. Without suggesting that all comedy is a game of confidence, I try to show that the demands placed on these comic artists by their society have necessitated that their responses, at least, must be effected through deception; hence their designation as confidence men. I first describe in the introduction the American society as a culture which has historically favoured successful confidence men, artistic and otherwise. I then place the comedian in the context of a confidence game, showing that some of the earliest forms, of comedy have effected the unification of pain and pleasure through deception and manipulations of belief, paying special attention to the earliest comedian, the aboriginal Trickster, as well as his descendants in classical theatre and mythology, later European Lore, and American comedy up to the time of Mark Twain, with particular reference to Melville. Then follow the individual analyses of three American comedians: the first addresses the manipulations of the alternately willing and unwilling confidence man, Mark Twain, as evidenced in Huckleberry Finn, Pudd'nhead Wilson, and the biography of Samuel Clemens; the second deals with the aborted career of Lenny Bruce, who seemingly despaired outright of maintaining a comedic game of confidence; and the third depicts Kurt Vonnegut as a comedian of many deceptions, as revealed especially in Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, and Jailbird. The conclusion then briefly poses some questions about the society that demands the success of confidence games, and the artists who must perpetrate them. en
dc.description.sponsorship Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Aberystwyth University en
dc.title Mark Twain, Lenny Bruce, and Kurt Vonnegut: The comedian as confidence man en
dc.type Text en
dc.type.publicationtype doctoral thesis en

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