Monday, May 1, 2017

Theory of Humor Series, part 1, the Danger of Posting Things Online

Over the last five years I have been slowly working on (or stalled out on) a paper about the nature of the humor in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. Usually, when doing research, you should keep your ideas under wraps until you have a scholarly paper accepted, so that no one swoops in and publishes your idea in a peer-reviewed setting before you do.

I flirted with being scooped myself with the fact that Toole had indeed known about Boethian philosophy from his class in Chaucer. I posted that fact out on the open Internet in my Evidence of Influences paper a couple of years before I published it in a peer-review setting, and my peer-reviewed statement was only two months earlier than Cory MacLaughlin's Butterfly and the Typewriter. MacLaughlin presented the same fact about Toole and Chaucer in his book, probably having gotten it from my Evidence of Influences paper online. He did cite my paper in his bibliography, but I do not think he credited it with being the source of the Chaucer information.

However, seeing that this project is stalled, I would rather have my ideas out in the world without peer-review credit than not have my ideas out in the world at all. Last summer, I posted a series of entries to this blog about aspects of the theory of humor, and I reviewed Purdie's book on the topic. I will now tag these blog entries with the title: Theory of Humor Series.

That having been said, one of my goals in this blog is to prove that I am still kicking and that my activity related to Toole's work has not ended. But considering that it has slowed down, I have an incentive to drag out any topic (such as the reviews of the "Best of") as long as I can.

With that in mind, I won't actually talk at all about the theory of humor in this particular entry. I will just string you along until next month.