Early Modern Jokes on Fearing Soldiers
In early modern jests on soldiers, fear of the battlefield is an underlying motive. Contrary to reality, in which soldiers were always part of a group, in the jests the soldiers are individuals. They act foolishly, drink, instil fear in peasants and are always ready to run away in the face of danger. Puns play on that fear. In other jests soldiers are wittily assessing battlefield situations and in the process, inversely or not, demonstrate their composure and firmness as good soldiers. The paper argues that in an attachment perspective on humour, the jests bring the unspoken fear of the battlefield into the open for all to laugh at.