The culmination of a lifetime's fascination with humour, Walter Redfern's book treats major French writers from the 18th to the 20th centuries as humorists, including Diderot, Rousseau, Sade, Huysmans, Flaubert, Beckett, and Tournier. He considers irony, hyperbole, wordplay, jokes, dialogue, humour as philosophical speculation, and plagiarism.

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