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Nonsense

  • By: Amadeu Viana
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Nonsense applies to a wide range of meaningless ways of expression, from incomprehensible sentences to perfectly formed linguistic texts that block interpretation. Nonsense expressions easily become humorous ones, as humans often obtain pleasure from linguistic play and are ready to look for alternative paths to produce meaning. Nonsense has been experienced as a form of freedom, especially as a means to free thinking from the conventional bindings of logic and language. Complementarily, it has turned out to be a felicitous cognitive tool to venture off into the unknown, to explore unfamiliar regions of mind. In a historical sense, nonsense has to be considered as a literary genre, attaining particular interest during the Victorian period of English literature; its value as witty wordplay has equally to ...

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