Chapter published in:Diachronic Developments in English News Discourse
Edited by Minna Palander-Collin, Maura Ratia and Irma Taavitsainen
[Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics 6] 2017
► pp. 267–293
Chapter 14. Newspaper funnies at the dawn of modernity
Multimodal humour in early American comic strips
This article offers a model for the analysis of comics, focusing on a classic of American Sunday newspapers: Outcault’s The Yellow Kid. As an early form of Press humour, these strips provide lavish material for the analysis of multimodal discourse and at the same time lend themselves to a study of the sociocultural and ideological constitution of America at the emergence of modernity. The analytical model is a threefold framework covering structural elements (“modes”), sociological elements (“functions”) and semantic elements (“mechanisms”). With these interpretive tools, it is expected that the construction of humorous meaning, as well as the usage of various semiotic resources for amusement purposes, becomes clearer. Moreover, the article glimpses at the nature of late nineteenth-century American society, in its vibrant, yet challenging, evolution.
Keywords: Comics, discourse, humour, multimodality, press, semantic, semiotic
Published online: 29 August 2017
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