Jonathan's Jokes: American humour in the late-Victorian press

Nicholson, Bob (2012) Jonathan's Jokes: American humour in the late-Victorian press. Media History, 18 (1). pp. 33-49. ISSN 1368-8804 DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/13688804.2011.632204

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Abstract

During the final quarter of the nineteenth century, columns of American jokes became a regular feature of numerous British newspapers. The Newcastle Weekly Currant, for example, had a weekly column of ‘Yankee Snacks’; The North Wales Chronicle had ‘American Humour’; the Hampshire Telegraph its ‘Jonathan's Jokes’; and the Northern Weekly Gazette sported a ‘Stars and Stripes’ column. Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper introduced a regular column of ‘American Jokes’ in 1896, the same year it achieved an unprecedented circulation of one million readers. Almost half a century before Hollywood, here was a distinctively American form of popular culture which took Britain by storm. It has, however, received little academic attention. This article explores the development of the American humour column, considers the way in which it was consumed by British readers, and argues that these seemingly ephemeral jokes played a key role in shaping Victorian encounters with America.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: America, Britain, Victorian, Press, Humour, Jokes, Transatlantic, Digital Humanities, Newspapers, Anglo-American, Slang, Modernity, Ephemera, Media History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
E History America > E11 America (General)
E History America > E151 United States (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Divisions: History
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2012 15:36
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/4167

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