Colletta, Lisa

views updated

Colletta, Lisa

PERSONAL: Female. Education: Claremont Graduate University, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Office—Babson College, 231 Forest St., Babson Park, MA 02457-0310. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Scripps College, Boston University, Boston, MA, instructor; Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA, visiting professor of literature; Babson College, Babson Park, MA, professor of British literature and English.


Dark Humor and Social Satire in the Modern British Novel, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2003.

(Coeditor) Wild Colonial Girl: Essays on Edna O'Brien, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 2004.

Contributor to journals, including Women's Studies.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A collection of Christopher Isherwood's letters to his mother; a book on British novelists in Hollywood.

SIDELIGHTS: After years of teaching British literature, Lisa Colletta noticed a neglected area in studies of the modernists: humor. Dark Humor and Social Satire in the Modern British Novel sets out to correct that deficiency. "Modernist viewpoints often overlook social humor as a form of typically conservative satire," noted a reviewer in the Ascribe Higher Education News Service.

In her book Colletta draws on the works of Virginia Woolf and other Bloomsbury figures, as well as those like Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Powell who are not identified with that circle, to reveal the different ways that modernists used humor in their novels. By probing more deeply into the comedies of manners and the humorous dialogue of these works, Colletta finds that they reveal a great deal about the stresses and strains that produced the modernist movement. Indeed, the very notions of absurdity and incongruity that animate so much of the art in the early twentieth century lend themselves perfectly to comedy. As Colletta put it in Dark Humor and Social Satire in the Modern British Novel, "Comedy imposes an absurd logic on the chaos of experience." The "darkness" of the humor reflects the anger of individuals who feel themselves trapped in a mechanical and even malevolent society that seeks conformity above all else, a vital theme for early modernists.



Ascribe Higher Education News Service, March 17, 2004, "Babson College's Lisa Colletta Authors Dark Humor Book."


Babson College Web site, (December 14, 2004), "Lisa Colletta."