English Humour for Beginners

January 12, 2019 - Comment

If you want to succeed here you must be able to handle the English sense of humour.So proclaims George Mikes’ timeless exploration of this curious phenomenon. Whether it’s understatement, self-deprecation or plain cruelty, the three elements he identifies as essential to our sense of humour, being witty here is a way of life. Perfectly placed

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If you want to succeed here you must be able to handle the English sense of humour.So proclaims George Mikes’ timeless exploration of this curious phenomenon. Whether it’s understatement, self-deprecation or plain cruelty, the three elements he identifies as essential to our sense of humour, being witty here is a way of life. Perfectly placed as an adopted Englishman himself, Mikes delivers his shrewd advice – helpfully divided into ‘Theory’ and ‘Practice’ – with a comic precision that does his chosen country proud., Drawing on a trove of examples from our rich comic canon, from Orwell (“Every joke is a tiny revolution”) to Oscar Wilde, this is the essential handbook for natives and foreigners alike. Mrs Kennedy: “I don’t think, Mr Churchill, that I have told you anything about my grandchildren.”Winston Churchill: “For which, madam, I am infinitely grateful.”

Comments

Anonymous says:

but on the whole a very good read. Although the book was written some three … A bit long winded in places, but on the whole a very good read. Although the book was written some three decades ago, the social climate has changed a lot, but a lot of the writing is still pertinent today.One of my favourite stories is in the section on ‘Understatement’ and it describes the experience of a group of dustbin men. A team of dustbin men are going about their business and one of them empties a bin with a mortar bomb in it and I think we are meant to assume that the dustman in question notices it, put carries out his duties anyway. They drive off and the bomb explodes demolishing the dustcart completely. The crew survive with life and limb. On being asked about their experience, I have this vision of the crew in tattered overalls, blackened faces and tousled hair and faint wisps of smoke rising from their ragged remains. With fantastic understatement and having faced and survived a near death experience, the spokesman complains about the sheer inconsideration of…

Anonymous says:

brilliantly perceptive and highly humerous I read this many, many years ago. I thought it was brilliantly written, and ordered it again so I could re-read it. I can count on both hands the number of books I have ever wanted to read a second time, and this is one of them. George Mikes had a wonderful way of explaining how peoples sense of humour varies from country to country viz a viz the English sense of humour.Although written in 1980 and perceptions have changed somewhat since then, it is still an interesting and highly entertaining read.

Anonymous says:

Five Stars Bought as a present for my international friend when she moved here for university and found it hilarious.

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