Exploring literary forms through radical materialist lenses can animate notions of subjectivity beyond agential autonomy; however, the radical materialist joke is a form that disappoints this transgressive promise in the long eighteenth century by recurring to previously established logics of individuation and, specifically, patrilineal inheritance, in order to ensure humor that resonates. Jokes through and about Lucretius, which are also arch commentaries on women’s inadequate educations, from Aphra Behn, Anne Ingram, and Mary Robinson, reveal a rift between the joke as a potentially democratizing, radical material form and the joke as a boundary-setting exercise.

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