The Penguin Book of Women’s Humor is a landmark anthology that proves there is a distinctly female way of being funny. Gina Barreca’s extravagantly wide-ranging selections–by turns shocking, invigorating, infuriating and inspiring–span three centuries and include not only the likes of Jane Austen, Dorothy Parker, Muriel Spark, “Moms” Mabley, Mae West, Erma Bombeck, and Roseanne, but also some unexpected voices: Sylvia Plath, Toni Morrison, Margaret Drabble, Emily Dickinson, and others. In stories, letters, verse, excerpts, essays, cartoons, and one-liners that address relationships, politics, fate, and the fierce struggle to survive and triumph, these women speak powerfully about the world and its absurdities–and laugh out loud.
This anthology looks at the genre of women’s humor and illuminates the ways in which women’s humor differs from men’s. It aims to destroy the assumption that humor is universal and shows it instead as marked by subjectivity and bound by gender. The book contains essays, short stories, dramas, and poems, on a range of subjects, from a variety of women.