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By: Edward Sharpham (1576-1608)

Book cover Cupid's Whirligig

Cupid's Whirligig is a city comedy: a play in colloquial language dealing with the everyday life of London's citizens. A knight, Sir Timothy Troublesome, suspects his wife of cheating on him and, to prove that any children she bears are not his own, decides to 'geld' himself. Meanwhile, the young Lord Nonsuch dreams of bedding the knight's wife, and in disguise enters the Troublesomes' employ as a servant. Cupid descends from the heavens to cast a love spell on the citizens of London and, by the last act, one character loves another, who loves another, and so on until the last loves the first: a "Cupid's whirligig"...

By: Elizabeth von Arnim (1866-1941)

The Princess Priscilla's Fortnight by Elizabeth von Arnim The Princess Priscilla's Fortnight

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... (Introduction by Tabithat)

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.

Book cover Semi-Attached Couple

Young and beautiful Helen Eskdale and fabulously wealthy Lord Teviot seem to be the perfect match. But when they marry, they find that misunderstandings and jealousies continually drive them apart. The machinations and intrigues of a large supporting cast surround the central question of whether their marriage will survive. Emily Eden's comedy of manners is reminiscient of Jane Austen's witty and ironic novels.

By: F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A life lived backwards, with events happening in reverse order forms the strange and unexpected framework of one of F Scott Fitzgerald's rare short stories. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was published in Collier's in 1927 and the idea came to Fitzgerald apparently from a quote of Mark Twain's in which he regretted that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst at the end. Fitzgerald's concept of using this notion and turning the normal sequence of life on its head resulted in this delightful, thought provoking fantasy tale...

Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Pretty but socially clueless Bernice lets her know-it-all cousin push her around, but eventually, something's gotta give! (Introduction by BellonaTimes)

Book cover Vegetable; or, From President to Postman

"Any man who doesn’t want to get on in the world, to make a million dollars, and maybe even park his toothbrush in the White House, hasn’t got as much to him as a good dog has—he’s nothing more or less than a vegetable."Such is the preface of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s only outing as a playwright. The action begins when 35-year-old railway clerk Jerry Frost gets drunk off a bootlegger’s potent hooch on the eve of Warren G. Harding’s presidential nomination. As a result, the second act takes place entirely within Jerry’s intoxicated fantasies, where he has become the new U...

By: Frank Bacon (1864-1922)

Book cover Lightnin'

A Western from 1918, that ran over a 1000 shows on Broadway and was made into movies twice. Lightnin' and his wife run a seedy hotel that straddles the Nevada-California state line, making for an interesting legal situation. When some out-of-town businessmen come to town to try and take advantage of the locals, they discover that there is more savvy in them thar hills than they first thought. - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: Lightnin' Bill Jones: ToddHW John Marvin: Andrew Gaunce Raymond Thomas:...

By: Frank Sidgwick (1879-1939)

Book cover The Sources and Analogues of 'A Midsummer-night's Dream'

By: G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Book cover Magic: A Fantastic Comedy

By: Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)

More Goops and How Not to Be Them by Gelett Burgess More Goops and How Not to Be Them

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 – cariacatures 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...

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: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw Pygmalion

If you've watched and loved the delightful musical My Fair Lady, then you'd love to read the wonderful play on which it is based. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is equally engrossing and as full of charm, wit and underlying pathos. First performed on stage in 1912, Pygmalion takes its title from the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. In the ancient story, a brilliant sculptor, Pygmalion falls in love with one of his own creations, a ravishingly beautiful sculpture whom he names Galatea. He propitiates Aphrodite, who grants his wish that his statue would come to life and that he could marry her...

Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw Arms and the Man

Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw that takes place in 1885, during the Serbo-Bulgarian War. Raina Petkoff is engaged to the gallant Sergius Saranoff, hero of the recent Bulgarian victory over the Serbs. But she is distracted by the abrupt arrival of Captain Bluntschli, a Swiss mercenary who fought for the Serbian army. He takes refuge in her bedroom after the battle and although he is initially threatening, reveals that he carries chocolates instead of bullets. Will Raina marry the posturing Sergius or the chocolate cream soldier? Extra intrigue is provided by saucy servant girl Louka, her dour fiance Nicola, and Raina's hand-wringing parents.

Book cover The Doctor's Dilemma

The Doctor's Dilemma is about Dr. Colenso Ridgeon, who has recently been knighted because of a miraculous new treatment he developed for tuberculosis. As his friends arrive to congratulate him on his success, he is visited by two figures who present him with a difficult decision. He has room for one more patient in his clinic; should he give it to Louis Dubedat, a brilliant but absolutely immoral artist, or Dr. Blenkinsop, a poor and rather ordinary physician who is a truly good person? Dr. Ridgeon's dilemma is heightened when he falls for Jennifer Dubedat, the artist's wife, who is innocent of her husband's profligacy.

Candida by George Bernard Shaw Candida

Candida, a comedy by playwright George Bernard Shaw, was first published in 1898, as part of his Plays Pleasant. The central characters are clergyman James Morell, his wife Candida and a youthful poet, Eugene Marchbanks, who tries to win Candida's affections. The play questions Victorian notions of love and marriage, asking what a woman really desires from her husband. The cleric is a Fabian Socialist, allowing Shaw—himself a Fabian—to weave political issues, current at the time, into the story.

Book cover Major Barbara

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...

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: George Colman (1762-1836)

Book cover John Bull Or, The Englishman's Fireside: A Comedy, in Five Acts

By: George Colman the Younger (1762-1836)

Book cover Heir At Law

Daniel Dowlas a chandler from Gosport, transmogrified into a baron, naturally enough demands, in what consists the mighty difference between drinking his tea out of a cup, or a saucer. He has the good sense to feel his insufficiency; and, aspiring to shine as an orator, engages a professor to teach him culture. Opposed to my lord, stands my lady, Dowlas; wife, a full-blown hollyhock of the aristocracy of Mammon. She affects to amend her spouse's cakelology, admits that an oath may now and then be suffered to garnish polite discourse, but then, it must be pronounced with an air to one's equals, and with a kind of careless condescension to menials...

By: George Grossmith (1847-1912)

The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith The Diary of a Nobody

Grossmith’s comic novel unveils the daily chronicles of the pompous and clumsy middle-aged clerk Charles Pooter, who has just moved to the London suburb of Holloway with his wife Carrie. Nonetheless, the family’s fresh start is not quite what they had in mind. Set in the late Victorian era, the diary accurately documents the manners, customs, trends and experiences of the time. First appearing in Punch magazine through the years 1888-89, The Diary of a Nobody was first published in book form in 1892 and has entertained readers ever since...

By: George Kelly (1887-1974)

Book cover Torch-Bearers

"The cold, historical fact is that at about 9:15 o’clock on the evening of August 29th, 1922, five or six hundred average New Yorkers, two or three hundred friends of the management, and about fifty sophisticated first-nighters were in grave danger of rolling off their seats in hysteria because of The Torch-Bearers." How can you resist a play with a review like that? - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: Mr. Frederick Ritter: Adam Bielka Mr. Huxley Hossefrosse: larryhayes7 Mr. Spindler: KHand Mr. Ralph Twiller: Matthew Reece Teddy Spearing: DrewStarmer Mr...

By: George M. Cohan (1878-1942)

Book cover Seven Keys to Baldpate (Play)

Betting that he can write 10,000 words in 24 hours, a novelist locks himself into a snowbound summer resort on Baldpate Mountain with what he believes is the one and only key to Baldpate Inn. Yet his work is interrupted by a number of colorful characters who have arrived for various shady enterprises, each thinking they had the only key to the inn. Soon it is clear there must be seven keys to Baldpate. The mystery deepens as the novelist finds himself entangled in an improbable series of schemes and plans...

By: George Meredith (1828-1909)

Book cover An Essay on comedy and the uses of the comic spirit
Book cover The Sentimentalists

By: Gideon Wurdz (b. 1875)

The Foolish Dictionary by Gideon Wurdz The Foolish Dictionary

“The Foolish Dictionary” was written by “Gideon Wurdz” and was published in 1904. According to the beginning of the book, it is “An exhausting work of reference to un-certain English words, their origin, meaning, legitimate and illegitimate use…” This a a short but amusing dictionary which “redefines” words in some interesting ways. Funny and sometimes bizarre observations are sprinkled throughout. In keeping with the policy to read, rather than attempt to rewrite, books – even those with offensive content – nothing has been omitted...

By: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781)

Book cover Minna Von Barnhelm

By: Hannah Cowley (1743-1809)

Book cover Which is the Man?

"Oh! Lord Sparkle! - Who can resist the gay, the elegant, the all-conquering Lord Sparkle? The most distinguished feather in the plume of fashion - without that barbarous strength of mind which gives importance to virtues or to vices. Fashionable, because he's well drest: - Brilliant, because he's of the first Clubs, and uses his borrowed wit like his borrowed gold, as tho' it was his own." A delightful comedy by a quite successful woman playwright. - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: Lord Sparkle:...

Book cover Bold Stroke for a Husband

"Plays, where the scene is placed in a foreign country, particularly when that country is Spain, have a license to present certain improbabilities to the audience, without incurring the danger of having them called such; and the authoress, by the skill with which she has used this dramatic permittance, ... has formed a most interesting plot, and embellished it with lively, humorous, and affecting incident.... Here is contained no oblique insinuation, detrimental to the cause of morality—but entertainment and instruction unite, to make a pleasant exhibition at a theatre, or give an hour's amusement in the closet...

Book cover Belle's Stratagem

The Beaux Stratagem, already in the catalog , was written by George Farquhar in 1707. The Belle's Stratagem, "a Ladies' response" to the Beaux Stratagem play with strong female characters, was written by Hannah Cowley in 1780. - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: Doricourt: A D Latheron Hardy: Alan Mapstone Sir George Touchwood: ToddHW Flutter: Larry Wilson Saville: Mike Manolakes Villers: Marya James Courtall: Greg Giordano Silvertongue: Son of the Exiles Crowquill: qthemusic123 First Gentleman: Adrian Stephens Second Gentleman: Tomas Peter Mountebank: Sandra Schmit French Servant: Rémi Porter: Sonia Dick : David Purdy Letitia Hardy: Jenn Broda Mrs...

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: Heinrich Hoffmann (1809-1894)

Struwwelpeter: Merry Tales and Funny Pictures by Heinrich Hoffmann Struwwelpeter: Merry Tales and Funny Pictures

Struwwelpeter (Slovenly Peter) is an illustrated collection of humorous children’s poems describing ludicrous and usually violent punishments for naughty behavior. Hoffmann, a Frankfurt physician, wanted to buy a picture book for his son for Christmas in 1844. Not impressed by what the stores had to offer, he instead bought a notebook and wrote his own stories and pictures. While Struwwelpeter is somewhat notorious for its perceived brutal treatment of the erring children, it has been influential on many later children’s books, most notably Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


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