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Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit

Posted by Henry on February 10, 2004

In Reply to: Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit posted by SR on February 10, 2004

: : Does anyone know who first said this, and the context in which it was said?
: : I thought it was the "pun is the lowest form of humour!"

Nigel Rees in Humourous Quotations finds the origin obscure. Thomas Carlyle in 1834 wrote; Sarcasm is the language of the devil. He says that the more usual observation, Punning is the lowest form of wit, probably derives from from Dryden's comments on Ben Jonson's 'clenches' or puns - the lowest and most grovelling kind of wit.

Punning is a talent which no man affects to despise but he that is without it. Jonathan Swift 1667-1745