Fowler on Humor

I was pleased to rediscover this table today.

  Motive or Aim Province Method or Means Audience
Discovery Human nature Observation The sympathetic
wit Throwing light Words and ideas Surprise The intelligent
satire Amendment Morals and manners Accentuation The self-satisfied
sarcasm Inflicting pain Faults and foibles Inversion Victim and bystander
invective Discredit Misconduct Direct statement The public
irony Exclusiveness Statement of facts Mystification An inner circle
cynicism Self-justification Morals Exposure of nakedness The respectable
the sardonic Self relief Adversity Pessimism Self

That’s lifted from the entry on humor found in Fowler’s Modern English Usage (1927). Now I need one for the various forms of physical and visual humor.

Homework: Print copies for all. Take to dinner with the day’s comics. Categorize.

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