The University of Wisconsin Press
Humor / American Midwest / Folklore
So Ole Says to Lena
Folk Humor of the Upper Midwest
Compiled and edited by James P. Leary
with an introduction by W. K. McNeil
“A funny book, but no mere joke book.”
The Country Today
In the land of beer, cheese, and muskieswhere the polka is danced and winter is unending and where Lutherans and Catholics predominateeverybody is ethnic, the politics are clean, and the humor is plentiful. This collection includes jokes, humorous anecdotes, and tall tales from ethnic groups (Woodland Indians, French, Cornish, Germans, Irish, Scandinavians, Finns, and Poles) and working folk (loggers, miners, farmers, townsfolk, hunters, and fishers). Dig into the rich cultural context supplied by the notes and photographs, or just laugh at the hundreds of jokes gathered at small-town cafes, farm tables, job sites, and church suppers. This second edition includes an afterword and indexes of motifs and tale types.
“A treasure trove of ‘occupational humor’ that’s often slightly racy and usually shot through with a blunt appreciation of the peculiar ways of the Midwestern world.”
Tom Laskin, Isthmus
“An accomplished blend of firsthand familiarity with the region and broad academic knowledge of the discipline of folklore.”
Robert T. Teske, Minnesota History
“Leary conveys a palpable sense of the original joke telling experience.”
Clyde Wade, Humor: International Journal of Humor Research
James P. Leary is director of the Folklore Program and professor in the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of WisconsinMadison. His books include Wisconsin Folklore, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press, Minnesota Polka, Yodeling in Dairyland, and, with Richard March, Down Home Dairyland.
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272 pp. 6 x 9
29 b/w photographs
Paper $21.95 t
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Updated 9/9/2014© 2010, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System