The Pun Also Rises

How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics

By John Pollack
(Gotham, Hardcover, 9781592406234, 240pp.)

Publication Date: April 14, 2011

List Price: $22.50*
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Description

A former word pun champion's funny, erudite, and provocative exploration of puns, the people who make them, and this derided wordplay's remarkable impact on history.

The pun is commonly dismissed as the lowest form of wit, and punsters are often unpopular for their obsessive wordplay. But such attitudes are relatively recent developments. In The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack-a former World Pun Champion and presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton-explains why such wordplay is significant: It both revolutionized language and played a pivotal role in making the modern world possible. Skillfully weaving together stories and evidence from history, brain science, pop culture, literature, anthropology, and humor, The Pun Also Rises is an authoritative yet playful exploration of a practice that is common, in one form or another, to virtually every language on earth.

At once entertaining and educational, this engaging book answers fundamental questions: Just what is a pun, and why do people make them? How did punning impact the development of human language, and how did that drive creativity and progress? And why, after centuries of decline, does the pun still matter?

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NPR
Sunday, May 15, 2011

The new book The Pun Also Rises, by 1995 O. Henry Pun-Off World Champion John Pollack, traces the surprising long and rich history of what some people call the lowest form of humor. More at NPR.org

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