Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons

Liza Donnelly, Author . Prometheus $32 (214p) ISBN 978-1-59102-344-9

Business, golf and kids have all got their own cartoon spotlights via The New Yorker , so why not women? Instead of a cartoon collection, however, this is an exhaustive survey of the history of the few women cartoonists at the august magazine. Donnelly, a cartoonist herself, got access to the New Yorker' s vast library of correspondence, so the book is full of in-depth accounts of spats between cartoonists such as Helen Hokinson and Barbara Shermund and legendary editors Harold Ross and Wallace Shawn. The result is a bonanza for those looking for raw material to analyze society's changing attitudes toward women and humor as reflected in the most highbrow of magazines. Where it comes up short, ironically, is the cartoons themselves, which are scattered throughout the book without identifying captions. Donnelly does offer insights into the careers of the early pioneers as they try to find material that suits them. A 20-year gap (1951–1972)during which almost no new women were introduced to the magazine speaks for itself, but woman are better represented today with such stars as Roz Chast and Marisa Acocella Marchetto. As history, Funny Ladies is essential, but it can't match the eloquence of the cartoons. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/10/2005
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Fiction
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