Can literature be funny? This week's question for the Literary Blog Hop comes from Gilion, from Rose City Reader.
While this may depend on your definitions of literature and funny, in my world literature can absolutely be funny. From the classics (Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare, Jane Austen) to the currents (Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O'Connor, Jonathan Safran Foer) I have found many examples of fine literary fiction that keeps me laughing in one way or another.
An especially good example of this, perhaps, is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Although it has been quite a few years since I read it, I still laugh about it. What a character Ignatious is! I mean, the first few sentences of the book alone...
A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out of either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs.It just gets better. This guy is a character. I was fascinated throughout the book, although it was a fascination tinged with a bit of horror and disgust. Talk about character driven fiction...the plot is interesting, the writing is well done, but the characters are larger than life, and the humor is laced throughout. Funny literary fiction? But of course.