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James Thurber

Irony, Engagement, and The New Yorker

Guest post by Campbell F. ScribnerUniversity of WisconsinClose on the heels of the Livingston/Murphy exchange, Andrew Hartman has called for a defense of irony in history, humor, and politics.  I cannot provide a comprehensive accounting but thought I might push the conversation a bit further back than his references to 1950s liberalism.The charge of “detachment” now leveled at humorists like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert is merely a reprise of left-wing attacks on E.B. White and James Thurber—the “heart and soul” of the New Yorker magazine—during the 1930s.  At that time the New Yorker was a sophisticated, Read more