Check out: Examining Victorian styles of humor

I’ve enjoyed following historian Bob Nicholson on Twitter, @DigiVictorian.

He often posts examples of interesting things he finds in old newspapers, which as longtime readers know is also an interest of mine.

These two particular examples are even on similar themes to my own areas of fascination, that is, modernity and beards:

A full, bushy thread on beards begins here.

A bit ago, he went viral with his diatribe against inaccurate Victorian-era newspapers in film & television:

You can read the whole (constantly-being-added-to) thread beginning here.

He’s also working on a survey of Victorian jokes and humor in particular. In this article he describes the prevalence of Victorian puns and groaners:

It turns out the Victorians joked about much the same topics as we do: cutthroat lawyers, quack doctors, mothers-in-law, foreigners (particularly the French), celebrities, political news, romantic misadventures, family squabbles, fashion faux pas, cheeky children, and other amusing situations drawn from everyday life. For a historian like me, these gags offer valuable insights into the inner workings of Victorian society. Laughter, after all, is a powerful thing – as anybody who’s ever been the butt of a cruel joke can attest. […]

Entire books of puns were also published, including Puniana (1867) and More Puniana (1875), which contained hundreds of pages of exquisitely tortured wordplay. Consider this appropriately festive example:

If you were to kill a conversational goose, what vegetable would she allude to?
Ah-spare-a-goose! (asparagus)

Or this bizarre bit of wit:

When do we possess a vegetable time-piece?
When we get-a-potato-clock (get up at 8 o’clock).

Jokes and puns in particular he regulalry posts to the Twitter account @VictorianHumour.

And here are some other good threads to read!

It’s all good stuff, and he’s doing the Lord’s work out there.