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Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It

Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It


Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It

valutazioni:
4/5 (5 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Nov 13, 2018
ISBN:
9781978632172
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

Much more than a knack for snappy comebacks, wit is the quick, instinctive intelligence that allows us to think, say, or do the right thing at the right time in the right place.

In this whimsical audiobook, James Geary explores every facet of wittiness, from its role in innovation to why puns are the highest form of wit. Geary reasons that wit is both visual and verbal, physical and intellectual: there's the serendipitous wit of scientists, the crafty wit of inventors, the optical wit of artists, and the metaphysical wit of philosophers.

In Wit's End, Geary embraces wit in every form by adopting a different style for each chapter; he writes the section on verbal repartee as a dramatic dialogue, the neuroscience of wit as a scientific paper, the spirituality of wit as a sermon, and other chapters in jive, rap, and the heroic couplets of Alexander Pope. Wit's End agilely balances psychology, folktales, visual art, and literary history with lighthearted humor and acute insight, drawing upon traditions of wit from around the world.

Entertaining, illuminating, and entirely unique, Wit's End demonstrates that wit and wisdom are really the same thing.

Pubblicato:
Nov 13, 2018
ISBN:
9781978632172
Formato:
Audiolibro


Informazioni sull'autore

James Geary is the author of Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists and the New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase.

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  • (4/5)
    In the circle of friends I grew up with, being called witty was about the highest praise one could receive. We never bothered to define the term precisely, but rather understood that it implied a degree of cleverness and facility with language that went well beyond just being funny. So, what exactly is wit, how does it function, and why does being considered witty matter so much to us? Those are precisely the questions that James Geary attempts to answer in Wit’s End, his exhaustingly researched and frequently engaging treatise on just about every imaginable aspect of the topic.At the simplest level, the author explains that wit can be regarded as a kind of metaphor: two disparate concepts connected by a commonality in sight, sound, or thought are combined for an incongruously comedic effect. Take puns, for example, such as the title of the 1970s rock album ‘You Can Tune a Piano but You Can’t Tuna Fish’. (Incidentally, this is not one of the dozens of puns that Geary cites, but it has been a personal favorite for a long time now.) The book then expands on this basic theme with chapters detailing how wit can be found in everything from literary fiction to fine art to popular music to religious tracts to political discourse. It deserves mention that the author himself is very clever in how he offers this analysis—the chapter on witty verbal banter is written as the script for a stage play, he presents the section on how wit works in the brain as a scientific research paper, visual wit is treated as an art history lecture, and so on. That structure, along with the thorough way in which the subject is documented across time and tradition, is what I found to be most compelling about Wit’s End. On the other hand, I also caught myself wondering at times in my reading whether this was really too narrow of a topic to justify a volume-length treatment. I am not sure that question was ever resolved, but I did come away from the experience both amused and enlightened.