The Catbird Seat Historical Context

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Humor in the Modern Period

Although Thurber has often been compared with the nineteenth-century humorist Mark Twain, this has more to do with their importance than with their subjects or styles. American humor in the nineteenth century and earlier featured rural or western heroes like Huck Finn, Davy Crockett, and Uncle Remus, slow-talking but clever country folk who made up in "horse sense" what they lacked in education. A staple of this kind of humor was the humiliation of the conniving "city slicker" who thought he could use his education and sophistication to win the fight or the contest or the girl.

When the New Yorker was founded in 1925, it strived to present a new type of humor, focusing on life in the modern city. The central characters of the new humor were formally educated, spoke "proper" English, and worked in offices instead of on the land. This...

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This section contains 660 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Catbird Seat Study Guide
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The Catbird Seat from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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