Swearing and Laughter Cover Image

Psovka i smijeh
Swearing and Laughter

Author(s): Ivana Mikulić
Subject(s): Croatian Literature, Theory of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: swearing; smješnice; everyday life; Dubrovnik
Summary/Abstract: The paper examines the relationship between two marginal phenomena in the Croatian literatury studies, swearing and laughter. Swearing is a speech genre determined by the obscene and vulgar expressions associated with sex organs or anal bodily area contextualized in the so-called negative values of contemporary culture. On the other hand, laughter is the main point of the comedy that is lower positioned and very often neglected in the hierarchy of genres. However, swearing in Bakhtin’s concept of grotesque realism is an affirmative and positive phenomenon that has contributed to the creation of a free carnival atmosphere and other, material bodily, ridiculous aspect of the world. For a long time Croatian comedies of the second half of the 17th century (smješnice) were on the verge of literary history studies. In this paper we are primarily interested in smješnice because they belong to the carnival type of ceremonial-representational forms of the culture of folk humor, with swearing as its integral part. The study analyses swearing in smješnice considering the type (swear words referring to sex and sexuality, insult), the direction of swearing (speaker, listener, third person, inanimate matter, animals) and the domain from which metaphorically-insulting words are taken (body parts, animals, ethnic groups, confessions, inanimate matter, human qualities…). Thus, different types of swear words provide an insight into the literary representation of everyday life in premodern Dubrovnik.

  • Page Range: 110-129
  • Page Count: 20
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Language: Croatian