Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2011/06/21/Howard_Jacobson_Return_of_the_Wry
Howard Jacobson, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Finkler Question, argues that the rebellious nature of comedy is an integral part of any good novel. “It’s a rebellion against everything; against the idea of God, against the idea of authority, against the idea of the hero himself,” says Jacobson.
Howard Jacobson calls himself a “Jewish Jane Austen,” as opposed to his critics’ description as the “English Phillip Roth.” Suffice to say, he’s a funny guy. He’s also the winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize with his comic novel, The Finkler Question. His unexpected win would seem to put paid to the idea that comedy has disappeared from the novel. At a Sydney Writers Festival session called The Return of the Wry, Jacobson tells media lecturer Fiona Giles why, more than ever, there’s a big need for funny. In it, he points out that, in the time of Ancient Greece, was the direct opposite of tragedy in that it was focused on the basics of life, such as sex and bodily functions. These days, he says, there should be nowhere that comedy doesn’t dare to go, including the hardest and darkest things of life. Jacobson confesses why he’s suspicious of Shakespeare’s Shylock, unanimity, ideologues and atheists … but also why he quite likes Joyce’s Jewish hero in Ulysses, and the aristocratic baby and talking dog of the TV show “Family Guy.” – Australian Broadcasting Corporation