Punch and Judy

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Punch and Judy,

famous English puppet play, very popular with children and given widely by strolling puppet players, especially during the Christmas season. It came to England in the 17th cent. by way of France from Italy and developed out of the commedia dell'artecommedia dell'arte
, popular form of comedy employing improvised dialogue and masked characters that flourished in Italy from the 16th to the 18th cent. Characters of the Commedia Dell'Arte
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 character, Pulcinella. To this traditional figure of the Italian comedy were added aspects of the medieval English foolfool
or court jester,
a person who entertains with buffoonery and an often caustic wit. In all countries from ancient times and extending into the 18th cent., mental and physical deformity provided amusement.
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. Punch, a hunchback, with a hooked nose and chin and a pot belly, was the cruel and boastful husband of a nagging wife, Judy, whom he often beat and in many versions killed. The language of the play is coarse and often satirical. The text was first written down and printed by J. P. Collier in 1827.


See G. Baker's Playing With Punch (1944); P. Fraser, Punch and Judy (1970).

References in periodicals archive ?
Wesley Street traders are sorry if Punch and Judy has caused offence as this was not the intention.
The Punch and Judy Fellowship said: "Punch and Judy does not encourage wife bashing.
But at a meeting of Barry Town Council this week, members were shocked to discover that a Punch and Judy show was listed in the plan of events.
But at a meeting of Barry Town Council this week members were shocked to discover that a Punch and Judy show was listed in the plan of events.
On this very day in 1662 Samuel Pepys made the first known written record of a Punch and Judy show in England.
Punch and Judy in 19th century America; a history and biographical dictionary.
PUNCH and Judy is making a comeback - but without the violence or dropped baby.
BARMY health and safety killjoys targeted Punch and Judy man Glyn Edwards to tell him his famously feisty puppets could not hold sticks.
And 'Professor' Quintin Greatrex, who has been enthralling Birmingham children with his Punch and Judy show for 40 years, is sick and tired of the Politically Correct brigade's bid to water-down the classic.
Iain Gray is an intelligent parliamentarian but I've watched him become drawn into the Punch and Judy politics that Alex Salmond is so well known for.
Many wore traditional costumes to get into the spirit of an old-fashioned day at the sands while enjoying pony rides, a coconut shy and a traditional Punch and Judy show.
While staff dressed up as circus clowns, the children also enjoyed balloon modelling, face painting, circus tricks and a Punch and Judy show.