Wstęp (Agnieszka Bąbel, Agata Grabowska-Kuniczuk)
The series entitled A distorting mirror by the highway. Literary satire, caricature, grotesque is devoted to the essence and rules of functioning of different varieties of comism and laughter in culture, concentrating on phenomena such as satire, grotesque, caricature or parody – both in contemporary society, and in historic communities.
The texts included are of an interdisciplinary character, dealing both with high-brow and popular literature and folklore, as well as with literature from across the bordering genres. The objects of analysis of the communication strategies, set in a historical and social context, are historical and factual accounts (diaries, memoirs, the press). These constitute testimony to specific comical situations and the functions they had in a given culture.
The diversity of the utilised material and the setting of the topic on the border of various disciplines of the humanities (history of Polish and international literature, cultural studies, journalism, sociology of literature and culture) enables a more complete recognition and understanding of this important aspect of human social behaviours.