The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics


Former speechwriter for President Bill Cliton and winner of the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, John Pollack takes a playful look at one of the worlds oldest forms of linguistic humor.  What exactly is a Pun, and where does it come from? How has it been used in noted literature and oration, and who have been history's foremost punsters? Why do we at once hate and delight in the form? What happens neurologically when we pun, and why does it form the basis of the earliest form of humor in children? Why makes puns funny and why do some people find them so exceptionally annoying? From the the neurological and linguistic bases for puns to their long and prominent history in cultures worldwide, THE PUN ALSO RISES leads readers on a lively expedition into the world of puns and the people who make them, offering insights into the important role puns play—even the bad ones—in language, laughter, and life itself.


North American publisher: Gotham

Foreign rights: Penguin Group, Sabila Khan,

Film rights: Gillian MacKenzie (


"A fun, cogent argument in favor of a dubious, often-damned art." — Kirkus Reviews

"A compelling exegesis on what puns are and why they matter." — The Los Angeles Times

"He tells us, with a clarity unusual for the subject, how the mind works..." — The New York Times Book Review

"Punderful!" — Ben Schott, author of Schott's Original Miscellany

"With dazzling whiz and wit-dom, the author illuminates how the pun has made us who we are today." — Richard Lederer, International Punster of the Year and author of Get Thee to a Punnery