Cornell University

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How to Tell a Joke: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Humor

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Virtual Event

"Always open with a joke” is common advice for public speaking. But instead of getting ideas from contemporary stand-up comedians, you can turn to Cicero, one of ancient Rome’s finest and funniest orators.

In a live, virtual Chats in the Stacks book talk, Michael Fontaine, professor of classics, will discuss How to Tell a Joke: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Humor (Princeton University Press, 2021). This lively new translation of Cicero—as well as the later Roman orator and educator Quintilian—examines the risks and rewards of humor, provides practical insight into how to write your own jokes, and appeals to anyone interested in the art of humor and public speaking.

A live Q&A will follow the talk. The audience is encouraged to write their questions into the Chat field for inclusion during this session. 

Dial-In Information

Please register through the following link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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Event Type

Author Appearance, Special Event, Presentation


Cornell University Library, Classics, Olin Library


book talk, humanities, library, cascal, history, CUL, olin library, philcal, Romance Studies, cashum, casling


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Jenny Leijonhufvud


Michael Fontaine

Speaker Affiliation


Disability Access Information

Closed Captioning will be available

Registration Status

Please register through the following link:

Open To

Free and open to all

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