What did the Portuguese laugh at 200 years ago?


humour in Portugal
periodical press
José Daniel Rodrigues da Costa
O Piolho Viajante
laughter community

How to Cite

Ferreira, J. P. R. (2023). What did the Portuguese laugh at 200 years ago?. The European Journal of Humour Research, 11(2), 106–120. https://doi.org/10.7592/EJHR.2023.11.2.773


This article aims to identify the existence of a laughter community in Portugal in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Based on research into the beginnings of humour in periodicals published in Portugal, a corpus consisting of newspapers published between 1797 and 1835 was analysed, from the first in which humour was used systematically as a resource (Almocreve de Petas) until the establishment of the Constitutional Monarchy. With the concept of laughter community in mind, evidence was sought that it was present in the period that covers the political, social and economic transition from the Ancien Régime to modern society, having as main players writers, editors, printers, readers and listeners, in a process of production, reception, circulation and appropriation of ideas and meanings. This process, which developed in the public sphere, also played a part in forming incipient public opinion. To detect evidence of this community, clichés, jocular expressions and comic stories conveyed by the periodicals were identified. Very often they were found to have kept the same meaning they had at the time, while some expressions have survived with slight changes, and others simply no longer make people laugh.



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