By Paul M. Zall

ISBN-10: 0813123712

ISBN-13: 9780813123714

Humor is usually a significant company, specifically the humor of Benjamin Franklin, a grasp at revealing the human via comedy. For the country’s bicentennial, Reader’s Digest named Franklin "Man of the 12 months" for embodying the features we respect such a lot approximately ourselves as Americans—humor, irony, power, and clean perception. Recreating Franklin’s phrases within the method that his contemporaries could have learn and understood them, Paul M. Zall chronicles Franklin’s use (and abuse) of humor for advertisement, diplomatic, and political reasons. devoted to the uniquely attractive and enduring humor of Benjamin Franklin, Zall lovingly samples Franklin’s apologues at the necessity of residing kind of even if life’s conditions could seem absurd.

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Sample text

I keep a regular Set of Books, and can tell at an Hour’s Warning how it stands between me and the World. In my Daybook I enter every Article of Defamation as it is transacted; for Scandals receiv’d in, I give Credit; and when I pay them out again, I make the Persons, to whom they respectively relate Debtor. In my Journal, I add to each Story by Way of Improvement, such probable Circumstance as I think it will bear, and in my Ledger the whole is regularly posted. 43 B ENJAMIN F RANKLIN ’ S H UMOR I suppose the Reader already condemns me in his Heart, for this particular of adding Circumstances; but I justify that part of my Practice thus.

Mrs. Careless was just then at her Glass, dressing her Head; and turning about with the Pins in her Mouth, Lord, Child, says she, are you crazy? What Time has Mary to knit? Who must do the Work, I wonder, if you set her to Knitting? 38 Paragraphs in Philadelphia Perhaps, my Dear, says he, you have a mind to knit ’em yourself; I remember, when I courted you, I once heard you say you had learn’d to knit of your Mother. I knit Stockins for you, says she, not I truly; There are poor Women enough in Town that can knit; if you please you may employ them.

Having chose the Person, take all his Virtues, Excellencies, &c. and if he have not enough, you may borrow some to make up a sufficient Quantity: To these add his Last Words, dying Expressions, &c. if they are to be had; mix all these together, and be sure you strain them well. Then season all with a Handful or two of Melancholly Expressions, such as, Dreadful, Deadly, cruel cold Death, unhappy Fate, weeping eyes, &c. Have mixed all these Ingredients well, put them into the empty Scull of some young Harvard; (but in Case you have ne’er a One at Hand, you may use your own,) there let them Ferment for the Space of a Fortnight, and by that Time they will be incorporated into a Body, which take out, and having prepared a sufficient Quantity of double Rhimes, such as Power, Flower; Quiver, Shiver; Grieve us, Leave us; tell you, excel you; Expeditions, Physicians; Fatigue him, Intrigue him, &c.

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Benjamin Franklin's Humor by Paul M. Zall


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