Looking at Laughter: Humor, Power and Transgression in Roman Visual Culture, 100 B.C.-A.D. 250


John Clarke's Looking at Laughter completes his trilogy on what might be called 'the underbelly' of Rome's visual culture: first, there was Looking at Lovemaking (1998), then Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans (2003). The latter's title comes closest to epitomising what binds them together, namely the desire to tap those bits of the Roman archaeological record that give access to areas normally occluded by literary evidence — the unofficial, the intimate, the non-elite. The contention is that careful analysis of what turned people on and made people laugh unlocks the views of a broader cross section of Rome's diverse population.


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