While not focused on Twain specifically, this is appropriate to Twain. A colleague of mine is editing the Nineteenth-century volume in a series on humor. He's looking for a few articles that use American humor to flesh out the offerings. I post the CFP below:
Subject: CFP: A Cultural History of Comedy in Age of Empire, deadline Dec. 1
Bloomsbury Press announces a Call for Proposals (500 words) for 10,000-word chapters on comedy and humor in the Age of Empire (1800-1920) for Volume 5 in the six-volume Bloomsbury series A Cultural History of Comedy (from antiquity to the present).
500-word proposals are due December 1, 2017.
Completed chapters are due August 31, 2018.
The six volumes will be sold as a set in 2019 and separately in 2020. Comprised of eight thematic overview chapters (Form, Theory, Praxis, Identities, the Body, Politics/Power, Laughter, and Ethics), each volume explores the cultural and/or literary history of comedy and humor through the eight aforementioned rubrics over the course of a historical period. The focus will be western, although not exclusively so, and will certainly encompass cross-cultural encounters and exchanges and cultural hybridity. While chapters are meant to serve as "overviews," they are not encyclopedia entries or surveys, and authors (some of the top humor specialists in the world) are encouraged to dedicate 50% of their 10,000-word chapters to analysis of a primary figure or figures (either literary or cultural), to a case study, or to a specific cultural phenomenon, in addition to providing a range of case material and historical and intellectual context. Series Editors Andrew McConnell Stott and Eric Weitz and Volume Editor Matthew Kaiser welcome essays that appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike.
We seek proposals for four chapters: on Comedic Form, on Comedic Theory, on Comedy and the Body, and on the Ethics of Comedy.
What follows is a brief description of each of the four rubrics:
Form: These chapters will investigate the many forms in which comedy has been engendered over the course of time. From Dionysian ritual, to flyting, cinema, and podcasts, comedy manifests itself in ways that speak to the cultural moment, the aesthetic paradigm and the available technologies, always finding a means to articulate its relevance. These chapters will consider specific forms - the comedy of manners, for example - but also the way in which comedy flows beyond formal constraints to become a tone or conceptual approach.
Theory: Each epoch has had a favored theory of comedy from Aristotle to the present. These chapters will investigate the dominant and emerging theories of comedy in history, looking specifically at the way in which those theorizations have served to either elevate or repress the status of comedy within the intellectual life of their era. Chapters will include discussions of texts or performances that either demonstrate the influence of these theories, or work against them.
The Body: These chapters will consider the place of the body in comedy, treating topics such as the origins of the form in fertility ritual and the plight of body in slapstick. It will also consider the comic body as a site of cultural anxiety in its hapless, failing and scatological existence, as well as the place of gendered bodies in comic narratives.
Ethics: Is there an ethics of comedy? From Roman New Comedy through to the comic theory of the Victorians, much comic narrative has been designed with a conservative purpose, to act as a social corrective that seeks to draw attention to, and so modify, the excesses of individuals and society. Similarly, racist or ethnic humor has served to limit or denude the identity of the other. On the other hand, however, satire, parody, and festive comic forms, have sought to open up spaces for liberty, freedom of expression and self-actualization. These chapters will consider the many ways in which comedy has explored its ethical dimension.
Chapter proposals (and questions about the project) may be sent to Prof. Matthew Kaiser at [log in to unmask]
Associate Professor and
Chair of the English Program
University of California, Merced