Limitations on the comic frame: Some witty American women of the nineteenth century

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63 Scopus citations


Kenneth Burke’s concept of literary reference "frames" has become important in the study of rhetoric and social change. The tragic frame has been thoroughly examined, but other metaphors for rhetorical movements remain relatively unexplored. The rhetoric of selected woman humorists from 1820 to 1880 exemplifies the operation of various frames related to the comic. The prevailing form of women’s humor became less and less truly comic, eventually sliding to the satiric and finally into burlesque. The comic frame could not be maintained, because these writers were unable to foster identification between females and males, and failed to provide a world view that could accommodate social change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-322
Number of pages13
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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