Guías Académicas




Curso 2022/2023

1. Datos de la asignatura

(Fecha última modificación: 07-05-22 19:17)
Optativa 3º y 4º
Segundo Semestre
Filología Inglesa
Plataforma Virtual

Campus Virtual de la Universidad de Salamanca

Datos del profesorado

María Mercedes Peñalba García
Fac. Filología
Filología Inglesa
Filología Inglesa
1.9 Dpto. Filología Inglesa. Edificio Placentinos
Horario de tutorías
lunes, martes, miércoles y jueves de 15:30 a 17:00
923 294500 Ext. 1754

2. Sentido de la materia en el plan de estudios

Bloque formativo al que pertenece la materia.

Module to which the course contributes: Literature and Culture Program

Papel de la asignatura.

Programs of study to which the module contributes: English & American Literature Level of the module: Honours          Category in Major Program: Disciplinary Elective

Perfil profesional.

The expected and desired learning outcomes at the bachelor’s level include an advanced level of mastery of research skills applied to the written text that will allow students to achieve intellectual maturity.

3. Recomendaciones previas

Prerequisite and co-requisite modules:  None

In addition to the general requirements, students may be expected to demonstrate an effective command of written English and some proficiency in discussing their reading (C1).

4. Objetivo de la asignatura

This course deals with the nature of comedy and humor in literature. Through discussion and writing, students will examine the techniques through which humor criticizes human nature, analyzes society, and expresses differing worldviews. They will read samples from a broad spectrum of humor, including comedy, satire, parody, irony, and farce. The course will provide opportunity to discuss both the widespread aspects of literary humor and the diversity of literary humor across time periods and cultures. While our reading list is primarily drawn from plays, short stories and novels, students will also explore contemporary satire in other media, such as film, television and various print media.


Students who complete the course successfully will be able to manifest in spoken and/or written form knowledge, understanding and appreciation of major themes and topics in the philosophy of humour. By the end of the module, they will be expected to:


  1. Apply theories of humour to comedic works.
  2. Explore the uses of satire in many forms—including prose, poetry, drama, and visual texts such as film and political cartoons—and from diverse periods and cultures.
  3. Enhance  their  understanding  of  the  ways  that  satire  works  in  particular  cultural contexts—that is, why it emerges when it does and what it targets.
  4. Understand the ways in which satire varies from other uses of humor and comedy.
  5. Understand a variety of comic texts and assess how these works use comic rhetorical techniques, such as irony, sarcasm, understatement, hyperbole, allusion.

5. Contenidos



The syllabus is divided into topics that suggest various emphases and functions of literary humor:


  1. Introduction to the course: Organization, requirements, syllabus.
  2. Humor theory. The ethics of humor.
  3. Comedy: Theories of comedy, comic modes, genres and techniques.
  4. Satire: Forms and targets of satire.
  5. Modern dystopias.
  6. Irony: Rhetorical devices used to ironic ends.
  7. Parody: Modern and postmodern uses of parody.


There is no set textbook for this course. All texts are available electronically on our website under “Course Documents”, organized by weekly readings.

6. Competencias a adquirir

Básicas / Generales.

CG1. Identify the key features of the genres studied.

CG2. Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural background surrounding the works students read and examine.

CG3. Demonstrate an ability to convey their thoughts verbally and in writing concerning the literary periods studied in the course

CG4. Demonstrate an ability to engage in the collaborative learning process.

CG5. Demonstrate a capacity for critical and analytical thought in terms of interpreting various forms of literature, especially as they relate to the genre of satire.


CE1. Use specific philosophical terminology.

CE2. Introduce students to some of the most interesting and challenging questions – both theoretical and practical – in the philosophy of humour.

CE3. Gain experience of a wide variety of textual forms (novels, plays, short stories, essays) and understand how to incorporate these diverse forms into critical debates.

CE4. Be able to inter-relate theoretical debate with close textual analysis.

CE5. Be able to construct and defend a coherent intellectual argument.


CT1. To increase the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of literature.

CT2. Contextualize and develop a critical argument (in spoken and written form) in relation to debates raised in the course.

CT3. Provide multiple opportunities to improve skills of presentation, oratory and argument.

CT4. Write in accordance with the conventions of standard English usage and punctuation.

CT5. Become familiar with and employ a variety of resources for English study, including electronic and printed databases.

7. Metodologías

Teaching will take the form of a weekly 3-hour seminar. Seminars will consist of discussion and presentations by both teacher and students. Students will be encouraged to develop an understanding of and ability to analyze particular texts, and also to relate them to the wider discussion of the theoretical issues. The seminar work will relate to the specific learning outcomes in 4 and 5. Assignment tasks will focus on some of the most challenging readings in the course and will help to develop students’ skills in explaining the key features of an argument.


The course will be assessed by the following THREE pieces of work taken together:

Oral presentation (written version: 1,000 words max, 30% of grade)

The presentation will be delivered orally in class. It should last for about 20 minutes and it should be presented from notes, not read from a prepared, written script. It should be written up as an essay of no more than 1000 words. The presentation will demonstrate in concise form your ability to unite literary and theoretical readings of a text, to raise questions about the text and place it within its historical and critical context. In giving your presentations, and in responding to the presentations of other members of the class, you will be expected to make your own judgments, apply aesthetic and critical terms with precision, and present your view in the form of a coherent argument.

Collaborative seminar work (20% of grade)

This assessment task is intended to allow students to develop skills in collaborative research and articulate their own critical position in spoken and written form. It will enhance understanding of the methods of analysis and thinking specific to the study of humor and satire.

Final examination (50% of grade)

The final examination will consist of short identification questions and excerpts from the required readings on our syllabus.

8. Previsión de Técnicas (Estrategias) Docentes

9. Recursos

Libros de consulta para el alumno.

Copies of the class syllabus, course handouts and several short readings will be available as PDF files in the course website (Studium). The course website also includes links to satire/humor literary history, culture and author sites, research and style guides.


Indicative Secondary Reading

Apte, M. (1985). Humor and Laughter: An Anthropological Approach. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Colebrook, C. (2004) Irony. London: Routledge.

Critchley, S. (2002). On Humour. London and New York: Routledge.

Dentith, S. (2000). Parody. London: Routledge.

Griffin, D. (1995). Satire: A Critical Reintroduction. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.

Hutcheon, L. (1994). Irony’s Edge. The Theory and Politics of Irony. New York: Routledge, 1994.

____ (2000). A Theory of Parody. The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms. New York: Routledge.

Morreall, J. (1983). Taking Laughter Seriously. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Rose, M. (1993). Parody: Ancient, Modern, and Post-Modern. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zupancic, A. (2008). The Odd One In: On Comedy. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Otras referencias bibliográficas, electrónicas o cualquier otro tipo de recurso.

Ballart, P. (1994). Eironeia: La figuración irónica en el discurso literario moderno. Barcelona: Quaderns Crema.

Berger, P.L. (1997). Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter.

Billig, M. (2005). Laughter and Ridicule. Towards a Social Critique of Humour. London: MacMillan.

Boyd, B. (2004). “Laughter and Literature: A Play Theory of Humor”, Philosophy and Literature, 28 (1): 1-22.

Bremmer, J. & Roodenburg, H. (eds.) (1997). A Cultural History of Humour: From Antiquity to the Present Day. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Colebrook, C. (2002). Irony in the Work of Philosophy. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Dane, J. A. (1988). Parody: Critical Concepts Versus Literary Practices. Aristophanes to Sterne. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

____ (1991). The Critical Mythology of Irony. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press.

Davies, C. (2009). “Humor Theory and the Fear of Being Laughed at”. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 22 (1-2): 49-62.

Gelven, M. (2000). Truth and Comedic Art. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

La Farge, B. (2004). “Comedy’s Intention”, Philosophy and Literature, 28 (1): 118-136.

Lang, C.D.  (1988). Irony/Humour: Critical Paradigms. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Martin, R.A. (2007). The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Academic Press.

Minois, G. (2000). Histoire du rire et de la derision. Paris: Fayard.

Morreall, J. (ed.) (1987). The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Nelson, T.G.A. (1990). Comedy: The Theory of Comedy in Literature, Drama and Cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Perlmutter, D.D. (2002). “On Incongruities and Logical Inconsistencies in Humor: The Delicate Balance”, Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 15 (2): 155-168.

Electronic resources


10. Evaluación

Consideraciones generales.

Committed participation in class and self-motivated personal research is essential for this course. Students’ performance will be measured in a variety of ways, including some or all of the following: in-class presentations, web-based assignments, tutorial discussions, and a final examination.

Criterios de evaluación.

In determining final grades, each course requirement carries the following weight:

  • Oral Presentation: 30%
  • Collaborative small group and seminar work: 20%
  • Final examination: 50%

Instrumentos de evaluación.

Teacher-made rubric for oral presentation, analytical essay, and tutorial discussion. Grading is based on a standard point system where each assignment is worth a set amount of points (depending on the assignment’s weight and value to the course), which contributes to an overall course total:

MH = 95-100% (A+)

Sb. = 90-94%  (A)

Not.= 75-89%  (B)

Ap. =  60-74% (C)

Susp.= 0-59% (D)



Tipo de prueba a emplear



Oral Presentation



Seminar Work



Final Exam











Otros comentarios y segunda convocatoria

Observaciones (p.e. sobre exámenes especiales, adaptaciones, recuperación, etc.):


Recomendaciones para la evaluación.

In order to pass this course, students must make a serious attempt at ALL assessment tasks.

Recomendaciones para la recuperación.

Written feedback on assessed coursework. Verbal feedback on presentations and nonassessed coursework.

11. Organización docente semanal