Page:Freud - Wit and its relation to the unconscious.djvu/39
THE TECHNIQUE OF WIT
stead of saying that old persons are apt to fall into dotage and that old persons are fond of telling anecdotes, De Quincey fuses the two words into a neologism, anecdotage, and thus simultaneously expresses both ideas. The technique, therefore, lies in the fusion of the two words. Such a fusion of words is called condensation. Condensation is a substitutive formation, i.e., instead of anecdote and dotage we have anecdotage.
“In a short story which I have recently read, one of the characters, a ‘sport,’ speaks of the Christmas season as the alcoholidays. By reduction it can be easily seen that we have here a compound word, a combination of alcohol and holidays which can be graphically represented as follows:
a l c o H O L
A L C O H O L I D A Y S
“Here the condensation expresses the idea that holidays are conducive to alcoholic indulgence. In other words, we have here a fused word, which, though strange in appearance, can be easily understood in its proper context. The witticism may be described as a condensation with substitution.
“The same mechanism is found in the following: A dramatic critic, summarizing three para-