Black Humour Spaces in Cinema and Literature: Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster and Tom McCarthy's Satin Island

  • Vincenzo Maggitti
Keywords: black humour, cartoon, estrangement, anthropologist, eco criticism


Maggitti’s essay is focused on two different expressions of black humour in today’s film and literature. After commenting on a recent proposal, by the British writer Jonathan Coe, on the whereabouts of contemporary humour, the author examines a film  (The Lobster by YorgosLanthimos) and a novel (Satin Island by T. McCarthy), both portraying the present world through humorous lenses, with a disrespectful attitude to an ecologically correct behaviour.

In The Lobster hunting is claimed a universal role in man to animal relation whereas Tom McCarthy turns environmental disasters into acts of worthy ecologism. In his approach to humour, Maggitti draws on its anthropological turn as its most estranging function.


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Author Biography

Vincenzo Maggitti

Vincenzo Maggitti teaches English in high schools. He has been lecturer in Italian at the University of Stockholm till 2013. He is PhD in Comparative Literature (University of Roma Tre), and his main research area is the connection between different artistic languages, mostly cinema and literature. Liguori has published his book Lo schermo fra le righe. Cinema e letteratura del Novecento, on the structural influences of cinema on literature. He has written several articles for literary reviews (“Letterature d’America”,  “Contemporanea”, “Annali d’Italianistica”) and on-line magazines, such as “Between” and “Arabeschi”.


Berger, John, “Why Look at Animals?”, Id., Why Look at Animals?, London, Penguin, 2009: 12-37.

Coe, Jonathan, “Is Martin Amis right? Or will Jeremy Corbin have the last laugh?”,, online (ultimo accesso (25/11/2016).

Critchley, Simon, On Humour (2002), trad. it. Humour, trad. Armando Lo Monaco, Il Melangolo, Genova, 2004.

Dressen, Henk, “Humour, laughter and the field: reflections from anthropology”, A Cultural History of Humour, Eds. Jan Bremmer - Herman Roodeenburg, Cambridge, Polity, 1977.

McDonald, Paul, The Philosophy of Humour, Penrith, CA, HEB Humanities E Books, 2012.

Scaffai, Niccolò, “Ecologia e rappresentazione dello spazio: Saviano, Tournier, DeLillo”, Between, I.1 (2011),

How to Cite
Maggitti, V. (2016). Black Humour Spaces in Cinema and Literature: Yorgos Lanthimos’ <i>The Lobster</i> and Tom McCarthy’s <i>Satin Island</i&gt;. Between, 6(12).
Parody, Satire, Humour. Seven Lectures and a Memory