If you’ve ever studied German (and maybe even if you haven’t), you’re likely to find this short essay to be hilarious. Published as Appendix D from Twain’s 1880 book A Tramp Abroad, this comedic gem outlines the pitfalls one will encounter when trying to wrap one’s mind around the torturous German cases, adjective endings, noun genders, and verb placement.
Two young people, the epitome of young masculine and feminine beauty, fall in love at first sight, but their union is forbidden by the tyranny of their guardians and of geography itself, for they live on opposite sides of the Hellespont. To enjoy one night of love, Leander dares to swim this formidable strait, unluckily meeting the god Neptune along the way. Unaware of the resentment he has aroused by rejecting the advances of this old queen of the sea, the lad gains the shore and, once past the shock of appearing naked on his lover's doorstep, finds his way into her bed. There the young couple, although ignorant of the facts of life (Hero is a "nun" in the temple of Venus!), discover "all that elder lovers know" by (awkward) trial and (hilarious) error. The unfinished poem ends with one lover having fallen out of bed, the long return journey across the Hellespont still to come and an angry Neptune lying in wait. Although George Chapman continued the poem after Marlowe's death, this reading is of Marlowe's original only.
Arnim, Elizabeth von
The Princess Priscilla of Lothen Kunitz finds court life stifling and runs away to England with the elderly court librarian. Her intention is to live a pure and simple life filled with good works. But life among ordinary people in an English village is not what she expects it to be...
Bangs, John Kendrick
The Idiot is anything but, yet his fellow boarders at Mrs. Smithers-Pedagog’s home for single gentlemen see him as such. His brand of creative thought is dismissed as foolishness yet it continues to get under their skin, because when you’re beneath contempt you can say what you please. – This is the first of John Kendrick Bang’s “Idiot” books and was published by Harper and Brothers in 1895.
The Wit and Humor of America is a 10 volume series. In this, the fourth volume, 40 short stories and poems have been gathered from 33 authors. This volume is sure to delight listeners.
Written for the Atlantic magazine in 1877, this is a collection of stories about a trip Mark Twain made with some friends to Bermuda.
Cobb, Irvin S.
Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb was born on June 23, 1876. At seventeen years of age, he began writing for the Paducah Daily News, his hometown paper. At nineteen he became the managing editor; up to that point, our nation's youngest. He worked as a columnist, a humorist and an author. But 'horror,' and 'short stories,' are not why he is remembered. He is remembered because he was, and still is, funny. And although he is now dead--he died March 11, 1944--this work "Cobb's Anatomy," among others, has left an indelible mark upon mankind: a smile.
Jerrold, Douglas William
Douglas William Jerrold (1803-1857) was the son of an actor manager. After some time in the Navy and as an apprentice printer he became a playwright and later a journalist. He was a contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens. As a journalist he worked for Punch magazine in which Mrs Caudle's Curtain Lectures were serialised, to be published in book form in 1846.
Job Caudle, the 'hero' of the book is a Victorian shopkeeper whose wife finds she can only talk to him without interruption in bed. Caudle, who outlives his wife, finds he can no longer sleep easily because of his memory of these 'lectures' and resolves to exorcise his wife's memory by recording the lectures, it seems with a view to future publication for the edification of others. Jerrold's humour shines through this insight into Victorian middle class culture.
Owen Wister's wry humor enlivens this comedic story of three sophomores during exam week at Harvard.
Dennis, C. J.
First published in 1917, The Glugs of Gosh satirizes Australian life at the start of the twentieth century - but the absurdities it catalogs seem just as prevalent at the start of the twenty-first. The foolishness of kings, the arrogance of the elite, the gullibility of crowds, the pride of the self-righteous, the unthinking following of tradition - all find themselves the targets of C. J. Dennis' biting wit.
From the cave man to Santa Claus; spies, know-it-alls, and journalists: all are fair game for Leacock’s special brand of humor. He touches on the changes time has brought about in the city, education, and work habits. Among the other topics in this work are nature, fishing, gardening, success, and spirits--both of the departed and of the variety Prohibition prohibited.
Each chapter of this book is a standalone story and if you love a good laugh, these stories are for you. In me, Leacock’s wit produced the full range of laughter: smiles, chuckles, guffaws, and some uncontrollable giggles. Also, occasionally, I found myself shedding a tear or two. (Review by Debra Lynn)
Wilson, Harry Leon
Merton of the Movies is a comedy that centers around Merton Gill, an aspiring dramatic artist from Simsbury, Illinois who makes his way to Hollywood to become a serious actor. How could Merton fail in attaining his dreams after finishing a correspondence course from the General Film Production Company of Stebbinsville, Arkansas, certifying him to be a competent screen actor?
Harry Leon Wilson, the author, was a very popular humor writer in the first decades of the 20th century. This book was made into film several times, the last in 1947 starring Red Skelton. (Summary written by Margaret.)
Jerome, Jerome K.
A comic look at the curious habits and customs of the inhabitants of 'Stage Land'. Dedicated to 'that highly respectable but unnecessarily retiring individual, of whom we hear so much but see so little, "the earnest student of drama"
Clarence and Emmeline Mumford are in for a real treat when they take in the young, outspoken Miss Louise Derrick as their guest. Shedding a light on class struggles in the Victorian era, The Paying Guest offers a look at just what "proper society" expects.
A Tramp Abroad is a work of non-fiction travel literature by American author Mark Twain, published in 1880. The book details a journey by the author, with his friend Harris (a character created for the book, and based on his closest friend, Joseph Twichell), through central and southern Europe. While the stated goal of the journey is to walk most of the way, the men find themselves using other forms of transport as they traverse the continent. The book is often thought to be an unofficial sequel to an earlier Twain travel book, The Innocents Abroad.
As the two men make their way through Germany, the Alps, and Italy, they encounter situations made all the more humorous by their reactions to them. The narrator (Twain) plays the part of the American tourist of the time, believing that he understands all that he sees, but in reality understanding none of it.
Shaw, George Bernard
George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara focuses on the family of aristocratic Lady Britomart Undershaft and her estranged husband Andrew, a millionaire armaments manufacturer. Their daughters Sarah and Barbara are both engaged to be married, and Lady Britomart decides to ask Andrew for monetary support. Barbara is a Major in the Salvation Army, and agrees to let her father visit the mission in the East End of London where she works. In exchange, she agrees to visit his munitions factory. The conflict between Barbara's philanthropic idealism and her father's hard-headed capitalism clash when he decides he wants to fund the Salvation Army. Shaw's comedy, as always, delves into political and social issues of the period, and provides a roster of finely- and humorously-drawn characters.
Jerome, Jerome K.
Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, published in 1886, is a collection of humorous essays by Jerome K. Jerome. It was the author’s second published book and helped establish him as a leading English humorist. The book consists of 14 independent articles arranged by themes.
This text takes the reader on a comical journey from the time of the first European settlement through the Civil War. The author's caustic wit is evident throughout the book in his numerous sarcastic and humorous remarks. The reader will enjoy a "different" type of history book based on facts, yet caustically embellished for entertainment purposes.
Robert Williams Wood
How do you tell apart a parrot from a carrot? A plover from a clover? A bay from a jay? Although there are several ways of differentiating, R. W. Wood’s use of pun and rhyme is one of the most entertaining!
Williams, Jesse Lynch
Why Marry? is a comedy, which "tells the truth about marriage". We find a family in the throes of proving the morality of marriage to a New Age Woman. Can the family defend marriage to this self-supporting girl? Will she be convinced that marriage is the ultimate sacredness of a relationship or will she hold to her perception that marriage is the basis of separating two lovers.
"Why Marry?" won the first Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Theodore Racksole, a rich American multi-millionaire, buys the Grand Babylon Hotel, a luxurous hotel in London, as a whim - and then finds out there are strange things going on - a German prince is supposed to arrive but never turns up, someone is found murdered in the hotel, but then the body disappears. With the help of his independent daughter Nella and another German prince, Racksole sets out to solve the mystery.
Bennett wrote this as a 15-part serial, for a lark, in 15 days, and sold it for 100 pounds. It first appeared in The Golden Penny in 1902, which described it as "the most original, amusing, and thrilling serial written in a decade".
Mackaye, Mary Keith Medbery
Pride and Prejudice, a comedy of manners and marriage, is the most famous of Jane Austen's novels. In this dramatic adaption by Mary Keith Medbery Macakaye some liberties are taken with the storyline and characters, but it is still a fun listen or read. Perhaps a good introduction for someone not ready to tackle the complete novel ~ and for the reader familiar with the work, a laugh can be had at the changes that were made in order to adapt it to the stage
A small play in three acts. A kind of comic tragedy. The plot tells the story of the interaction between two very different families in rural England just after the end of the First World War. Squire Hillcrist lives in the manor house where his family has lived for generations. He has a daughter, Jill, who is in her late teens; and a wife, Amy, as well as servants and retainers. He is "old money", although his finances are at a bit of low ebb. The other family is the "nouveau riche" Hornblowers, headed by the single-minded and rich industrialist Hornblower, who throws old retainers the Jackmans out of their home (much to the Squire's disgust), and who plans to surround the Hillcrist's rural estate with factories.
"Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich" is a work of humorous fiction by Stephen Leacock first published in 1914. It is the follow-up to his 1912 classic "Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town." Like that work, it is a sequence of interlocking stories set in one town, but instead of focusing on a small Canadian town in the countryside, it is set in a major American metropolis and its characters are the upper crust of society.
Although currently not as well-known as the earlier book, "Arcadian Adventures" was extremely popular in North America at the time of its publication and for a while was considered the greater success. It was also translated and published by the Bolshevik government soon after the 1917 revolution and it became a bestseller in the Soviet Union.
Frank Gelett Burgess
Deep in the heart of every parent is the wish, the desire, to have other adults tell us, in an unsolicited way, just how very polite one’s child is! This perhaps was even more the case in 1903, when Gelett Burgess produced his second book on the Goops. With entertaining cartoons - caricatures of misbehaving children - he described many different breaches of tact and good manners.
Burgess wrote several books of poetry on the Goops, each poem describing some significant way in which an unthoughtful or unkind child could offend polite society and often offering the hope that the listener would never behave that way. Ahem! Well, perhaps very few people have succeeded in not acting Goop-like at some point in their lives, but read along with Burgess as he attempts to define, in a humorous fashion, exactly what the differences between “Good” and “Goop” are!
Eight silly stories by Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.
Bangs, John Kendrick
John Kendrick Bangs once again takes us on a journey with the loveable, but somewhat self-opinionated and irritating Mr Idiot.
Penrod for girls in the form of Florence, the bratty younger cousin of luminous Julia Atwater, enlivens this romantic comedy set in Tarkington's Indiana of the early 20th Century.
Excerpted anecdotes from the biographies of Swift, Curran, O'Leary and O'Connell, relating humorous snippets of politics in 18th and 19th century Ireland. For some these may be poignant in addition to being humorous and for others they may be humorous in addition to being poignant.
The "true" story of the Wantley Dragon. Set at Christmas time, it is a tale of a Baron, his daughter, a brave knight, True Love, and the terrible Dragon of Wantley. Oh, and don't forget the wine.
A novel, The Dragon of Wantley, was written by Owen Wister (best known as the author of The Virginian) in 1892. Published by Lipincott Press, the story is a comic "burlesque" (in the author's words), concerning the "true" story of the Dragon. It is a romantic story set at Christmastime in the early 13th century. The book was a surprise success, going through four editions over the next ten years. This is the 1895 edition.
This is a collection of various articles found in Morning Herald columns. Some are found interesting, some may be hilarious! The 84 pieces of this book are actual reports throughout the 1870s newspaper written by the reporter, John Wight and Illustrated by George Cruikshank
Young Laroon plans to marry Isabel, but Father Martin manipulates Isabel's father, Jourdain, in order to seduce Isabel. However, other characters, including both of the Laroons, try to manipulate Jourdain for their own ends; they accomplish it through disguising themselves as priests and using his guilt to convince him of what they say. As Father Martin pursues Isabel, she is clever enough to realize what is happening and plans her own trap. After catching him and exposing his lust, Father Martin is set to be punished.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.