Jerome K. Jerome
A humorous account by English writer Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The three men are based on Jerome himself (the narrator J.) and two real-life friends, George Wingrave (who would become a senior manager in Barclays Bank) and Carl Hentschel (the founder of a London printing business, called Harris in the book), with whom he often took boating trips. The dog, Montmorency, is entirely fictional but, "as Jerome admits, developed out of that area of inner consciousness which, in all Englishmen, contains an element of the dog." The trip is a typical boating holiday of the time in a Thames camping skiff. This was just after commercial boat traffic on the Upper Thames had died out, replaced by the 1880s craze for boating as a leisure activity.
Following the Equator (American English title) or More Tramps Abroad (English title) is a non-fiction travelogue published by American author Mark Twain in 1897.
Twain was practically bankrupt in 1894 due to a failed investment into a "revolutionary" typesetting machine. In an attempt to extricate himself from debt of $100,000 (equivalent of about $2 million in 2005) he undertook a tour of the British Empire in 1895, a route chosen to provide numerous opportunities for lectures in the English language.
In Following the Equator, an account of that travel published in 1897, the author unmasks and criticizes racism, imperialism and missionary zeal in observations woven into the narrative with classical Twain wit.
Of particular interest, historically, are Twain's references to Cecil Rhodes in Australia and South Africa, the in-depth description of "Thugs" and "Thuggee" in India and the Boer War period and diamonds in South Africa.
Famed American humorist Washington Irving published a series of short stories telling of his adventures traveling from America to England. This volume contains some of his observations about that trip, including his impressions of the English countryside, the differences between the wealthy and the poor, rural customs, and other aspects of British culture. During a visit to the library located in the depths of Westminster Abbey, Irving muses on the issue of why some examples of English literature stand the test of time, while others are lost to history. The collection concludes with Irving's memories of his visit to Stratford-on-Avon, the home of William Shakespeare, and the nearby communities that influenced some of Shakespeare's work. ( Greg Giordano)
In his inimitable way, Mark Twain gives sound advice about how to tell a story, then lets us in on some curious incidents he experienced, and finishes with a trip that proves life-changing.
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.
Chesterton, G. K.
A collection of reprinted articles on a wide-range of subject, all in the unique style of G. K. Chesterton. Using wit, paradox, and good humor he “defends” a series of seeming harmless things that need no defense, and in so doing he exposes many of the broken assumptions and dogmatic notions of secular humanism and other trends of his age and of ours.
Elia and The Last Essays of Elia are two collections of essays written by Charles Lamb. The essays first began appearing in The London Magazine in 1820 and continued to 1825. They were very popular and were printed in many subsequent editions throughout the nineteenth century. The personal and conversational tone of the essays has charmed many readers.
Lamb himself is the Elia of the collection, and his sister Mary is "Cousin Bridget." Lamb took the name of Elia from an old Italian clerk at the South-Sea House in Lamb's time of employment there; that is, in 1791-1792. Many of these essays contain references to Lamb's contemporaries or events of his day, which may not strike as strong a chord in the heart of the contemporary listener.
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) began writing his autobiography long before the 1906 publications of these Chapters from my Autobiography. He originally planned to have his memoirs published only after his death but realized, once he’d passed his 70th year, that a lot of the material might be OK to publish before his departure. These chapters were published in serial form in the North American Review during 1906-1907. While much of the material consists of stories about the people, places and incidents of his long life, there’re also several sections from his daughter, which he calls “Susy’s biography of me”.
Chesterton, G. K.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an influential English writer of the early 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy, and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the "prince of paradox." He wrote in an off-hand, whimsical prose studded with startling formulations. Chesterton wrote about 4000 essays on various subjects, and "Ararms and Discursions is one of his collections.
Gordon, Irwin Leslie
A short, humorous biography of famous people from 5000 BC to 1914. -- S. McGaughey
From the Introduction, "The editor begs leave to inform the public that only persons who can produce proper evidence of their demise will be admitted to Who Was Who. Press Agent notices or complimentary comments are absolutely excluded, and those offering to pay for the insertion of names will be prosecuted. As persons become eligible they will be included without solicitation, while the pages will be expurgated of others should good luck warrant."
Irvin S. Cobb
This warm, affectionate duet of essays by two of the early twentieth century's most popular writers is a bit dated but still entertaining.
The Wit and Humor of America is a 10 volume series. In this, the third volume, 45 short stories and poems have been gathered from 33 authors. This volume is sure to delight listeners.
Collection of short essays concerning French novelist and critic Paul Bourget. Included: "What Paul Bourget Thinks of Us" and "A Little Note to M. Paul Bourget".
"In the course of time a very considerable public feeling was aroused in the United States and Canada over this state of affairs. The lack of reciprocity in it seemed unfair. It was felt (or at least I felt) that the time had come when some one ought to go over and take some impressions off England. The choice of such a person (my choice) fell upon myself. By an arrangement with the Geographical Society of America, acting in conjunction with the Royal Geographical Society of England (to both of whom I communicated my proposal), I went at my own expense."
And from thence follow the impressions of Canadian political economist and humourist, Stephen Leacock, after a lecturing visit to England.
This long essay is a work of mock philology, one of several appendices to Twain’s travel novel, A Tramp Abroad. In it, Twain explains, complains about, and shows how one might improve upon various aspects of the (awful) German language. His examples of precisely how the German language is awful include the famed “separable verb” – which allows one to put the first part of a given verb at the beginning – and its second part at the end – of a given clause or sentence (which may, indeed, be very long). He also makes fun of the extreme length of certain compound nouns (which are created by tacking two – or more – words together, without using hyphens to clarify where one ends and the next begins), as well as the many noun and verb forms one must master (memorize) in order to use German cases properly.As the essay progresses, Twain includes a few hilarious passages that are partly or mostly in (his own, awful) German. Nevertheless, the work is easily understandable even by people who don’t know any German at all.(In the novel, A Tramp Abroad, Twain details his journey with his friend, Harris, through Germany, the Alps, and Italy, where he encounters various ridiculous situations. Here, much of the humor lies in his silly, often over-stated characterization of the circumstances as quickly grasped and easily explained by such a seasoned tourist as himself, while he also make plain throughout the profoundly strange nature of many of his experiences, and the various pitfalls he and Harris run into as they try to navigate their unfamiliar terrain.)
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.
Edgar Wilson “Bill” Nye (1850 – 1896) was a distinguished American journalist, who later became widely known as a humorist. Jim “jimmowatt” Mowatt is a distinguished LibriVox volunteer, widely known for his continued devotion both to regularly producing the LibriVox Community Podcast and to regularly creating more and more history audiobooks for the public domain, renowned for his humor and his historically kind demeanor, lately recognized as holding a diploma as well as a mic. In light of that new holding, in celebration of graduation, this bit of history has been recorded with Jim in mind, owing to all that we owe him, glowing with glee that we know him, it’s what we’ve done just to show him that he’s a jolly good fellow.
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.
"...Showing Curious ways in which the English Language may be made to convey Ideas or obscure them." A collection of unintentionally humorous uses of the English language. Sections of the work: How she is wrote by the Inaccurate, By Advertisers and on Sign-boards, For Epitaphs, By Correspondents, By the Effusive, How she can be oddly wrote, and By the Untutored.
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"
George Fullerton Evans
A short, humorous guide of what not to do in your first year of college.
Jerome K. Jerome
Back in 1905 Jerome K. Jerome shared his thoughts on a variety of subjects, including "Should Women Be Beautiful?", "Should Soldiers Be Polite?" and "Is The American Husband Made Entirely Of Stained Glass?". Each subject is analysed and commented on in the witty and satirical style we've grown to expect from the author.
Charles Dudley Warner
These eight essays about Charles Dudley Warner’s visit to the Adirondacks cover a broad range of topics, all with more or less of his dry humor. They include spoofs of the popular Adirondack ‘sportsman’ stories being published at the time, a plea for hunting regulations told from the viewpoint of a deer, the biography of a local guide and character, and reflections on humanity’s effect on the wilderness and vice versa. Much has changed in the Adirondacks since the 1870s, but getting lost in the woods is still pretty much the same now as it seems to have been then.
A. A. Milne
A. A. Milne, best known as the creator of Winnie the Pooh, was a prolific author of books, plays, essays and articles. He also spent a number of years editing for Punch Magazine. He even wrote a good detective story -- The Red House Mystery !
In this collection he addresses a vast range of issues, including: the essence of melodrama; the lingering effects of World War I; knowing geography versus owning an atlas; a new kind of haunted house; the inexplicable nature of high finance; the trouble with "experts;" how the life of bees suggests the social importance of artists; the bad influence of theatre critics on good theatre.
All of these short pieces are humorous. Many are informative. Taken together, they will inspire many to navigate over to Milne's five other book-length humorous collections: Happy Days, The Holiday Round, Not That It Matters, Once a Week, and The Sunny Side -- or, perhaps, to The Red House Mystery.
A. A. Milne
A. A. Milne (18 January 1882 – 31 January 1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various poems. 'If I May' is a collection of short essays on desultory subjects that first appeared in The Sphere, The Outlook, The Daily News, The Sunday Express (London) and Vanity Fair (New York). These essays display Milne's vivid imagination and literary ability to elaborate on almost any subject in an engaging manner. Milne's literary style and humor - often self deprecatory - endear him to modern readers as well
Donald Ogden Stewart
A humorous guide for ladies and gentlemen in all social crises.
Donald Ogden Stewart
A humorous guide to manners and etiquette for ladies and gentlemen in a social "crises," published in 1922.
This is a diverse collection of essays by English writer Max Beerbohm, whose circle included such notables as Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, and Somerset Maugham. Much of Beerbohm's work was humorous, including parodies of various aspects of the upper class life into which he was born.
Some of these pieces are humorous, some philosophical, and some even sad. They include, for instance: a frankly self-critical piece on the pomposity and self-importance of his early literary ambitions; a half-eager, half-repining essay on a missing and uncompleted portrait of the great German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; and a funny, but politically critical essay on "the servant question."
A front-line view of life in the trenches of the Western Front in the early part of 1914-1915. Told by Lieutenant (later Captain) Bruce Bairnsfather, cartoonist, whose Alf, Bert, and Old Bill were forerunners to Bill Mauldin and his Willie and Joe in World War II. This volume traces Bairnsfather's service as a machine gun officer from its inception until he was removed from the battlefield by the intense shelling during the Second Battle of Ypres (April 1915). It is told with a wry, ironic, grim humor often possessed by those who have endured shells, bullets, floods, mud, bully beef, maconochie, and a surfeit of plum and apple jam. His participation in the unofficial Christmas Truce of 1914 (for which he was investigated in view of a court-martial) is documented as well as the horrors of war at close quarters.
John Kendrick Bangs
I could not let these random notes of a delightful experience go forth into the world without expressing in some way my deep appreciation of the valued services rendered me in my ten years of platform work by my friends of the Lyceum Bureaus. In office and in the field they have labored strenuously, often affectionately, and always loyally, on my behalf. But for their interest some of the most cherished experiences of my life would have been beyond my reach. If sometimes in their zeal to keep me busy they have booked me in Winnipeg on Monday night, in New Orleans on Tuesday night, with little side-trips to San Diego, California, and Presque Isle, Maine, on Wednesday and Thursday, not to mention grand finales at Omaha and Key West on Friday and Saturday, I view that sequence rather as a tribute to my agility than as a matter to be unduly captious about. It is a manifestation of a confidence in my powers to overcome the limitations of time and space that I think upon with an expanding head, if not with a swelling heart, and whether this required annihilation of distance has been wholly agreeable or not it has enabled me to see more of my own country than I otherwise could haveseen, and to that extent, I hope, has made a better American of me.
Carleton Britton Case
Carleton B. Case is well known for wit and humor, as the title of the book leads one to believe this book will follow suit.
A wickedly funny book of advice on women's dress. However old, fat or plain you are, Dorothy Quigley will tell you what not to wear.
Cobb, Irvin S.
Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb (June 23, 1876–March 11, 1944) was an American author, humorist, and columnist who lived in New York and wrote over 60 books and 300 short stories. Cobb has been described as "having a round shape, bushy eyebrows, full lips, and a triple chin. He always had a cigar in his mouth." This book is a hilarious account of Cobb's attempts at weight-loss.
Samuel L. Clemens' (Mark Twain) journey to Europe and the Holy Land in 1866. Reportedly his best selling book.
G. K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936) has been called the “prince of paradox.” Time magazine observed of his writing style: “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out.” His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy and detective fiction.
The title of Chesteron’s 1910 collection of essays was inspired by a title given to him two years earlier by The Times newspaper, which had asked a number of authors to write on the topic: “What’s wrong with the world?”. Chesterton’s answer at that time was the shortest of those submitted - he simply wrote: “Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton”. In this collection he gives a fuller treatment of the question, with his characteristic conservative wit.
Albert Bigelow Paine
Until recently, this work has been considered the "go-to" bio of Mark Twain. Albert Bigelow Paine (July 10, 1861 – April 9, 1937) was an American author and biographer best known for his work with Mark Twain. This recording of Paine's exhaustive biography covers Twain's personal and literary life in detail, heretofore unapproached.
Bill Nye was a famous American humor columnist in the middle 1800's. He said "We can never be a nation of snobs so long as we are willing to poke fun at ourselves." And he did exactly that in hundreds of newspaper columns that were later collected into books. This is a selection of just 35 of the most humorous, wry and downright funny cogitations of his, written of course in the somewhat convoluted style common in the 19th century which just adds to their flavor in my opinion. The selection process was rigorous: only those that made me laugh, giggle or snort are included.
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.
Sketches of the fair sex, in all parts of the world. To which are added rules for determining the precise figure, the degree of beauty, the habits, and the age of women, notwithstanding the aids and disguise of dress.
It is our design to present a pleasing and interesting miscellany, which will serve to beguile the leisure hour, and will at the same time couple instruction with amusement. We have used but little method in the arrangement: Choosing rather to furnish the reader with a rich profusion of narratives and anecdotes, all tending to illustrate the FEMALE CHARACTER, to display its delicacy, its sweetness, its gentle or sometimes heroic virtues, its amiable weaknesses, and strange defects—than to attempt an accurate analysis of the hardest subject man ever attempted to master, viz—WOMAN.
Lewis Carroll is best known for 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. It is less widely known that he worked as a lecturer for mathematics at Christ Church college, Oxford for 27 years. 'A tangled tale' merges his two talents as storyteller and mathematician. It consists of 10 short humorous stories which present one or more mathematical problems. The 10 'knots' as they are called, were first published in 'The Monthly Packet' magazine between April 1880 and March 1885, where readers were invited to solve the problems, and the solution was discussed in a later issue.
A. A. Milne
More of the witty, wry, and deliciously wicked essays and articles written by Milne. Most people know him as the creator of Winnie The Pooh, but he worked for many years as editor of Punch Magazine and these are some of his best. Not That It Matters is a collection of over 40 of these short stories and articles. Not That It Matters collects his columns for Punch, which include poems, essays and short stories, from 1912 to 1920. Most of his writing pokes fun, both gentle and not so gentle at a variety of topics. They vary greatly in length so there should be something for everyone. Milne wrote in a thoroughly British atmosphere and for a thoroughly British audience so some of his references may need a bit of research for those 'not of the Empire' (like me) to understand.
Three books of travel writing (between them covering the USA, Canada, Japan and Egypt) by the Nobel Prize winning author of the Just So Stories and the Jungle Book. Rudyard Kipling (an Englishman born and raised in India) offers an interesting outsider's view of the places he visits, candid and sharp witted, yet with a deep humanity.
Letters of Travel comprises three books: From Tideway to Tideway 1892-95 contains pieces first published in the Times covering voyages across north America (USA and Canada) and in Japan; his Letters to the Family first appeared in the Morning Post, while Nash's Magazine was the first publisher of the articles (on Egypt and Sudan) in Egypt of the Magicians.
Kipling's observations are cast in a wry style that permits, as his work often does, different readings. The unsympathetic reader can hear a banal repetition of the patriarchal, racist and imperialist ideas of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century trotted out. (Or even in his characterisation of the Jewish power behind the pedlar in "The Face of the Desert" a suggestion of something worse.) A more nuanced reading will perceive an amused or wry smile in Kipling's remembering and the human sympathy that infuses all his writing. (US listeners should be warned that in Kipling's day "the N word" was in common use, and he therefore uses it naturally to describe people of Sub-Saharan African ancestry.)
A paragraph in the "letter" written on Kipling's arrival in Japan might serve as example. It closes: "The father-fisher has it by the pink hind leg, and this time it is tucked away, all but the top-knot, out of sight among umber nets and sepia cordage. Being an Oriental it makes no protest, and the boat scuds out to join the little fleet in the offing." With its flippant tone ("all but the top-knot"), impersonal reference ("it" rather than he or she) and use of racial terms ("Oriental") and stereotypes ("makes no protest") this can be presented as an example of the worst of Victorian Imperialist prejudice.
And yet... as the fisher family are introduced, not only was "the perfect order and propriety of the housekeeping" noted but mention was made of "a largish Japanese doll, price two shillings and threepence in Bayswater", which turns out to be a baby. At first glance this is merely another example of Western bigotry. Note however the words Kipling uses to show us that this is not in fact a doll: "The doll wakes, turns into a Japanese baby something more valuable than money could buy". The "Japanese doll" is a priceless human child and not a commodity to be bought in Bayswater.
Perhaps the prejudice is not so much on the surface of Kipling's writing as under the surface of the reader's presuppositions? Time and again wry observation turns the familiar world into something fresh, and reminds the reader of shared humanity with the strange and foreign people being observed. Kipling as a tourist is no mere gawker whether in strange yet familiar Yokohama or in foreign Vermont.
Robert C. Benchley
A collection of amusing essays satirizing serious consideration of topics including natural history, social etiquette, or indeed, civilized behavior (especially of the upper classes).
A Terrible Thing in the Form of a Literary Torpedo which is Launched for HILARIOUS PURPOSES ONLY Inaccurate in Every Particular Containing Copious Etymological Derivations and Other Useless Things by Noah Lott (an ex-relative of Noah Webster)
We join our thoughtful author on a dreamy stroll at dusk through the English countryside, and listen to his nonchalant, slightly scattered musings on the human condition...everything from loafing about and old book collecting, to heavier topics like what is more valuable: memory or forgetfulness and can we connect back to nature, or is it too late to do so. All these ponderings, and more, are explored within. Published in 1898, this collection of essays is Kenneth Grahame's first complied work. His wry and witty humor, which later would be celebrated in his famous novel, The Wind in the Willows, shines through here.
A. A. Milne
Once A Week is a collection of short stories and slightly longer vignettes which were written for Milne's solid British Audience, including regular readers of Punch -- between1903, when he graduated from Cambridge and 1906, when he began also to edit Punch, on and through to 1909. They are humorous verses, essays and stories with what he deemed a peculiarly British flavor, focusing on the antics and adventures of a small recurring group of friends and acquaintances. The breadth of Milne's oeuvre is illustrated by his publication, in the mean time, of 18 plays, 3 novels, collections of children's poems, screen plays for popular British films, and a (pretty good) detective story. -- among other things.
Seventeen goofy stories and essays by Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock. "Professor Leacock has made more people laugh with the written word than any other living author. One may say he is one of the greatest jesters, the greatest humorist of the age." – A. P. Herbert
Thomas Lansing Masson
Volume 1 of a ten volume collection of amusing tales, observations and anecdotes by America's greatest wordsmiths. This work includes selections by such household favorites as Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Benjamin Franklin and Washington Irving.
It is refreshing to find an unworked field all ready for harvesting.
While the wit of men, as a subject for admiration and discussion, is now threadbare, the wit of women has been almost utterly ignored and unrecognized.With the joy and honest pride of a discoverer, I present the results of a summer's gleaning.
And I feel a cheerful and Colonel Sellers-y confidence in the success of the book, for every woman will want to own it, as a matter of pride and interest, and many men will buy it just to see what women think they can do in this line. In fact, I expect a call for a second volume!
Hanover, N.H., August, 1885.
A series of occasionally witty one-liners, poems and considerations on the subject of Men, Women and their Conjunction. By turns tender, bland, sexist (in both directions!) and funny