WW2 I Couldn't Help Laughing! - An Anthology of War-Time Humour 1942
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For sale is a WW2 I Couldn't Help Laughing! - An Anthology of War-Time Humour 1942 Publication.The introductory note states: “TAKING it by and large, whatever that may mean, World War II seems, so far, to be producing fewer and somewhat choicer jests in this country than World War I. Why this should be so is not a matter for discussion here, though it probably will be; still less the question why such a scourge as a major war should make anyone want to laugh at all-a question already settled in theory, I think, by the late and great Bergson in a magistral chapter with which I am unfortunately unacquainted. What is certain is that in the interval between the last war and this, British humour has grown up, to some extent. Anyone who cares to set himself the ghastly task of looking up old comic paper files will be struck by the gentle simplicity of the typical British joke of 1914-18, its anxious refinement, and its unerring social sense. Amusing things said to taken-aback clergymen (including chaplains) and ladies of the manor by awful little girls; laughable cracks by admirals, brigadiers, colonels, majors, Masters of Foxhounds, M.P.s, and newly-joined subalterns; amusing faux-pas reported from the underworld of the ranks and the lower deck by sporting V.A.D.s-one gets the impression, probably false, that a general level of decorum obtained during those years and there was never anything to astonish, startle or dismay the Island Race as it slogged conscientiously through its weekly fun-ration. Those little wartime books by E. V. Lucas and George Morrow were an exception, to some extent, and should be noted. Under that mellow Lucasian charm there was, as everybody who knew and loved him was aware, a pleasant streak of quite Continental savagery. It was kept carefully out of Lucas's essays, but it popped up in the Lucas-Morrow series, ably abetted by the Morrovian Muse, and must have disconcerted the old ladies at the Close not a little, like being suddenly bitten by a couple of deans. Since those far-off days the quickfire crackle of many a Hollywood film and the increasing importation of the glossier, more cynical New York weeklies and monthlies have undoubtedly sophisticated these islands. Sophistication must not be carried too far, and there is still nothing the Race, laying its ears back and showing the whites of its eyes, fears and hates more than satire. But I think it may be said that the general acceptance to-day of a less genteel comic approach to the study of the human-and especially the Anglo-Saxon- vivarium is due to a large extent to inoculation over years by the vivacious sadism of Hollywood and New York, itself due to many factors, such as rich racial mixtures, a crisper air and tempo, a swifter and more deafening daily racket of existence, a rather adolescent, or pimply (si j'ose m'exprimer ainsi) cult of destructiveness for destructiveness' sake, bigger and better hangovers, dizzier blondes, ruder policemen, and a quicker uptake, not to say uppercut. This does not of course totally explain the vogue of the jeering Beachcomber or the man Low, who undoubtedly cut his milkteeth on the Australian equi- valent of a brace of tomahawks and whose native ferocity has been proof even against the ennobling influences of Australian cricket. It does, I think, explain why the British public now stands, with scarcely a yelp, drawings, prose, and verse with a tang of mordancy from which it would have recoiled a quarter of a century ago with cries inspired by spiritual experiences at Lord's and the Oval. Nothing being more futile and boring-see opening paragraph-than a long introduction to a book of fun, discussing fun, I will not proceed to analyse this book, or to explain anything, still less to apologize. These pieces seem to me pretty representative of the attitude of the Muse of British Comedy towards this war, so far; now smiling genially or dopily, now baring her fangs with a snarl, now uttering what the French call a metallic laugh, now tittering cynically, now mumbling bitterly, now lashing out jovially with a smart left-hook to the jaw or a rousing kick in the pants. I submit also that this book is published at the right time. War may be a chancy thing, as General Boulanger soundly remarked, but this war is hardly likely to be funnier six months or a year hence than it is now. (The same prediction, you may remember, was made about the Bright Young People midway through the 1920s. A year or so later they had succumbed to gin and sunk without trace.) While the gay horde of the wits is still with us, not to speak of their literary agents, let us therefore make the most of it. The task of assembling these pieces and pictures has been pleasant, barring two instances; in the one there appeared to be an impression abroad that the compiler and his plug-uglies were out to steal an eminent editor's watch, in the other we received so frigidly annihilating a response from such an immense height that it stretched us practically lifeless on the floor. It is the said compiler's modest hope that our title-taken incidentally from John Stuart Mill's mirthmaker, Ricardo's Theory of Rent-will not be found too daring or far-fetched. However, his real feeling is that if it's good enough for a member of the Carlton Club it's good enough for you.” This is in good condition, however the two last pages have scribbles on. This will be sent via Royal Mail 1st class signed for and dispatched within two working days.
Dorset, United Kingdom
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