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By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Book cover Heartbreak House

On the eve of World War I, Ellie Dunn, her father, and her fiancé are invited to one of Hesione Hushabye’s infamous dinner parties. Unfortunately, her fiancé is a scoundrel, her father’s a bumbling prig, and she’s actually in love with Hector, Hesione’s husband. This bold mix of farce and tragedy lampoons British society as it blithely sinks towards disaster.

By: Owen Wister (1860-1938)

The Dragon of Wantley by Owen Wister The Dragon of Wantley

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.

Philosophy 4: A Story of Harvard University by Owen Wister Philosophy 4: A Story of Harvard University

Owen Wister's wry humor enlivens this comedic story of three sophomores during exam week at Harvard.

By: Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)

Miss Civilization by Richard Harding Davis Miss Civilization

Miss Civilization, a one act comedy, tells the story of a young woman who matches wits with three burglars attempting to rob her house.

By: James Stephens

Book cover There is a Tavern in the Town

The soul of Irish wit is captured in this unique tale of a barstool philosopher, the concluding story from 'Here Are Ladies' by James Stephens. (Introduction by iremonger)

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

Book cover Ivanov

Nicolai (anglicised Nicholas in this translation) Ivanov, a middle-aged public servant, is unhappy. His wife Anna, disinherited by her family after converting from Judaism, is dying of tuberculosis. He is deeply in debt. And his best friend’s daughter is infatuated with him. Comedy and tragedy ensue in truly Chekhovian fashion. An example of the young Chekhov’s maturing style, Ivanov is an early harbinger of themes that would recur throughout his work.

By: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

Book cover Volpone, or, The Fox

Volpone is a comedy by Ben Jonson first produced in 1606, drawing on elements of city comedy and beast fable. A merciless satire of greed and lust, it remains Jonson's most-performed play, and it is among the finest Jacobean Era comedies. Volpone is a Venetian gentleman who pretends to be on his deathbed, after a long illness, in order to dupe Voltore, Corbaccio, and Corvino, three men who aspire to inherit his fortune. In their turns, each man arrives to Volpone’s house bearing a luxurious gift, intent upon having his name inscribed to the will of Volpone, as his heir...

By: George Gissing (1857-1903)

The Paying Guest by George Gissing The Paying Guest

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.

By: Amy LeFeuvre (1861-1929)

Teddy's Button by Amy LeFeuvre Teddy's Button

Teddy loves to tell the story of how his father heroically died on the battlefield and guards his button jealously. But this brings contention and strife when a new girl comes to town. Teddy begins to learn what it means to be a soldier under Christ, his Captain.

By: Harry Leon Wilson (1867-1939)

Merton of the Movies by Harry Leon Wilson Merton of the Movies

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.

By: George Ade (1866-1944)

Fables in Slang by George Ade Fables in Slang

While a columnist for The Chicago Record humorist George Ade penned numerous “fables” which were subsequently collected into books. Fables in Slang is the first of these collections. It contains 26 satirical stories that lampoon phrenologists, idealists, snobs, fanatics and other ignorant fools of the day, most of which still wander through our modern lives. Jean Shepherd considered Ade a predecessor who made writers like James Thurber, Mike Royko, and himself possible. Fables in Slang was first published in 1899 by Herbert S. Stone and Company.

By: Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)

The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan The Rivals

The play is set in Bath in the 18th century, a town legendary for conspicuous consumption and fashion at the time. Wealthy, fashionable people went there to "take the waters", which were believed to have healing properties. The plot centres on the two young lovers, Lydia and Jack. Lydia, who reads a lot of popular novels of the time, wants a purely romantic love affair. To court her, Jack pretends to be "Ensign Beverley", a poor officer. Lydia is enthralled with the idea of eloping with a poor soldier in spite of her guardian, Mrs...

Book cover School For Scandal

Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy was first performed in 1777 and focuses on the intrigues and scandals of the British upper classes. Lady Sneerwell wants to marry Charles Surface, while Joseph Surface wants to marry Maria, an heiress and ward of Sir Peter Teazle. Maria, however, prefers Charles over Joseph. In order to detach her from Charles, Lady Sneerwell and Joseph spread rumors about an affair between Charles and Lady Teazle, Sir Peter's new young wife. Meanwhile, Sir Oliver Surface, newly returned from the East Indies, assumes various disguises to test his nephews' characters. Misunderstandings, mistaken identities, gossip, and bad behavior abound in this uproarious comedy.

By: Aristophanes (446BC - 385BC)

Lysistrata by Aristophanes Lysistrata

Lysistrata read by the Classics Drama Company at DePaul. The Classics Drama Company at DePaul is a new gathering of Thespians and Classicists dedicated to performing and understanding ancient literature. If you live in Chicago and attend DePaul University, we welcome new additions to our group. Contact Dr. Kirk Shellko (, if interested.First performed in classical Athens c. 411 B.C.E., Aristophanes’ Lysistrata is the original battle of the sexes. One woman, Lysistrata, brings together the women of all Greece, exhorting them to withhold sexual contact from all men in order that they negotiate a treaty...

By: Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Book cover The Princess

The Princess is a serio-comic blank verse narrative poem, written by Alfred Tennyson, published in 1847. The poem tells the story of an heroic princess who forswears the world of men and founds a women's university where men are forbidden to enter. The prince to whom she was betrothed in infancy enters the university with two friends, disguised as women students. They are discovered and flee, but eventually they fight a battle for the princess's hand.

By: Thomas Lodge

Rosalynde or, Euphues' Golden Legacie by Thomas Lodge Rosalynde or, Euphues' Golden Legacie

This novel, which Shakespeare adapted in his pastoral comedy As You Like It, is the archetypal pastoral adventure. Two young persons of high birth, who have recently lost their fathers (one to death, one to banishment), fall in love but are separated almost at once and forced to flee to the Forest of Arden. There they meet again, but as Rosalynde is disguised for safety as a boy, named Ganymede, her lover Rosader does not recognize her. Once Rosader has confided his love to Ganymede, they play a game in which the "boy" poses as Rosalynde to give Rosader practice in wooing...

By: William Congreve (1670 -1729)

The Way of the World by William Congreve The Way of the World

The Way of the World is a play written by British playwright William Congreve. It premiered in 1700 in the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields in London. It is widely regarded as being one of the best Restoration comedies written and is still performed sporadically to this day.The play is based around the two lovers Mirabell and Millamant (originally famously played by John Verbruggen and Anne Bracegirdle). In order for the two to get married and receive Millamant's full dowry, Mirabell must receive the blessing of Millamant's aunt, Lady Wishfort...

By: Robert Copland (fl. 1515)

Book cover Jyl of Breyntfords Testament

Introduction - This is a collection of ten comic pieces from the 16th century and earlier, as compiled and edited by Frederick Furnivall for private circulation in 1871. Only the first is by Copland. (Introduction by Grant Hurlock)

By: William S. Gilbert (1836-1911)

The Pirates of Penzance by William S. Gilbert The Pirates of Penzance

The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic finds out, however, that he was born on 29 February, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year...

By: Alice Gerstenberg (1885-1972)

Book cover Alice in Wonderland (Drama)

A dramatization of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass for the stage. In this version, Alice goes through the looking glass and encounters a variety of strange and wonderful creatures from favorite scenes of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland the Through the Looking Glass. Including a conversation with the Red and White Queens, encounters with Humpty Dumpty, the Mock Turtle, the Cheshire Cat, and the Caterpillar, and of course everyone's favorite Mad Tea Party.

By: Barry Pain (1864-1928)

Marge Askinforit by Barry Pain Marge Askinforit

A rollicking parody of the Margot Asquith memoirs, in which Pain’s character, Marge, beguiles us with the most personal details of her dysfunctional family, and delights in relating every cringing, if not wholly accurate, minutiae of her exciting private life.

By: Mary Keith Medbery Mackaye (1845-1924)

Pride and Prejudice: A Play by Mary Keith Medbery Mackaye Pride and Prejudice: A Play

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

By: Heywood Broun (1888-1939)

Seeing Things at Night by Heywood Broun Seeing Things at Night

This Book is a collection of humorous short stories which describe the comedy in everyday things and situations.

By: Jesse Lynch Williams (1871-1929)

Why Marry? by Jesse Lynch Williams Why Marry?

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.

By: John Wight (1866-1944)

Mornings at Bow Street by John Wight Mornings at Bow Street

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

By: William Mountfort (1664-1692)

Life and Death of Doctor Faustus Made into a Farce by William Mountfort Life and Death of Doctor Faustus Made into a Farce

By: Unknown

One-Act Play Collection by Unknown One-Act Play Collection

One-Act Play Collection includes 6 one-act plays in the public domain.

By: Richmal Crompton (1890-1969)

Just William by Richmal Crompton Just William

William is a mischievous eleven year old who is puzzled by the adult world, which is no less puzzled by him. The humor is gentle and pleasing. The series of books is better known in the United Kingdom than in the U.S. (

By: Emily Eden

The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden The Semi-Detached House

If you're a Jane Austen fan, you'll enjoy Emily Eden's comic novels of manners, The Semi-Detached House (1859) and The Semi-Attached Couple (1860). At the opening of The Semi-Detached House, the beautiful (but rather petulant) Lady Blanche Chester, newly married and pregnant, is being installed in a suburban house while her husband is away. Her encounters with her neighbors, and the intrigues of the neighborhood, soon come to absorb and annoy her.

By: Owen Wister (1860-1938)

The New Swiss Family Robinson by Owen Wister The New Swiss Family Robinson

A parody of its famous predecessor, this short piece was written by Owen Wister for the Harvard Lampoon

By: Anonymous

Irish Wit and Humor by Anonymous Irish Wit and Humor

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. (

By: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

The Alchemist by Ben Jonson The Alchemist

An outbreak of plague in London forces a gentleman, Lovewit, to flee temporarily to the country, leaving his house under the sole charge of his butler, Jeremy. Jeremy uses the opportunity given to him to use the house as the headquarters for fraudulent acts. He transforms himself into 'Captain Face', and enlists the aid of Subtle, a fellow conman and Dol Common, a prostitute. In The Alchemist, Jonson unashamedly satirizes the follies, vanities and vices of mankind, most notably greed-induced credulity...

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