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The author and Harvard professor discusses “No Joke: Making Jewish Humor,” her book about the most celebrated of all Jewish responses to modernity. Ruth Wisse evokes and applauds the genius of spontaneous Jewish joking as well as the brilliance of comic masterworks by writers like Heinrich Heine, Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, S. Y. Agnon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Philip Roth. At the same time, she draws attention to the precarious conditions that have called Jewish humor into being – and the price it may exact from its practitioners and audience.