P. H. Davison
WORDS ABOUT WORDS
The frequent use of the bad pun by the greatest of all English writers, Shakespeare, makes it difficult to dismiss out of hand. The delight afforded to those of all classes by the bad pun cannot be explained in high literary terms. It may be that this play on words, and the distortion of language that is frequently involved, is a means whereby individuality is expressed, due order and the rational are subverted, and person independence asserted, while at the same time -- in the response it evokes -- a sense of community is shared.
P. H. Davison, "Popular Literature" in Encyclopedia Britannica
Posted on January 16, 1999 at 6:02 AM