By: G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
|Magic: A Fantastic Comedy|
By: Peter Newell (1862-1924)
The Slant Book
The Slant Book is literally the shape of a parallelogram, with the spine of the book running down one side. When opened, facing pages form a “V” shape. All the pictures on the slanted recto pages show a way-too-precocious infant in a carriage [the "go-cart" of yesteryear] racing downhill who has somehow gotten away from his nanny, gleefully creating havoc all along the way! The facing verso pages contain two stanzas of commentary on the charming –if alarming!– illustrations. This book pioneered the “special format” children’s literature of today, such as pop-up books or cutout books like Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar...
By: Henri Bergson (1859-1941)
|Laughter : an Essay on the Meaning of the Comic|
By: Robert Williams Wood (1868-1955)
How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers
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!
By: Herbert Jenkins (1876-1923)
Patricia Brent, spinster
A romantic comedy, written in 1918, but with a modern feel to it. Patricia Brent one day overhears two fellow-boarders pitying her because she “never has a nice young man to take her out”. In a thoughtless moment of anger she announces that the following night she will be dining out with her fiance. When she arrives at the restaurant the next day, she finds some of the fellow-boarders there to watch her, so, rendered reckless by the thought of the humiliation of being found out, she goes up to a young man sitting alone at a table, and asks him to help her by “playing up”. Countless complications and adventures ensue…
By: George Bernard Shaw
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.
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...
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: Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
|Androcles and the Lion|
|How He Lied to Her Husband|
|John Bull's Other Island|
|Augustus Does His Bit|
|The Inca of Perusalem|
|Annajanska, the Bolshevik Empress|
|O'Flaherty V.C. : a recruiting pamphlet|
By: Owen Wister (1860-1938)
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
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, 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
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)
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: Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927)
|Fanny and the Servant Problem|
By: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781)
|Minna Von Barnhelm|
By: George Meredith (1828-1909)
|An Essay on comedy and the uses of the comic spirit|
By: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
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...
|Every Man in His Humor|
|Epicoene: Or, the Silent Woman|
|Every Man out of His Humour|
|Every Man in His Humour|
By: George Gissing (1857-1903)
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 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
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
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 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...
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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), 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)
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
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: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910)
By: William Congreve (1670 -1729)
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...
|Love for Love: a Comedy|
|The Double-Dealer, a comedy|
|The Old Bachelor: a Comedy|
|The Comedies of William Congreve Volume 1 [of 2]|
By: Titus Maccius Plautus (254 BC - 184 BC)
|Amphitryo, Asinaria, Aulularia, Bacchides, Captivi Amphitryon, The Comedy of Asses, The Pot of Gold, The Two Bacchises, The Captives|
|The Comedies of Terence Literally Translated into English Prose, with Notes|
|The Comedies of Terence|
By: Frank Sidgwick (1879-1939)
|The Sources and Analogues of 'A Midsummer-night's Dream'|
By: William S. Gilbert (1836-1911)
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)
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)
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: Nicholas Udall (1505-1556)
|Ralph Roister Doister|
By: Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934)
|The Cabinet Minister A farce in four acts|
|The 'Mind the Paint' Girl A Comedy in Four Acts|
|The Gay Lord Quex A Comedy in Four Acts|
|The Big Drum A Comedy in Four Acts|
|The Squire An Original Comedy in Three Acts|
By: Royall Tyler (1757-1826)
By: Tom Taylor (1817-1880)
|Our American Cousin|
By: George Colman (1762-1836)
|John Bull Or, The Englishman's Fireside: A Comedy, in Five Acts|
By: Mary Keith Medbery Mackaye (1845-1924)
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: John Lydgate (1370?-1451?)
|Disguising at Hertford|
By: Heywood Broun (1888-1939)
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? 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: James Sheridan Knowles (1784-1862)
By: Mark Ambient (1860-1937)
|Oh! Susannah! A Farcical Comedy in Three Acts|
By: John Wight (1866-1944)
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: Lawrence Echard (1670?-1730)
|Prefaces to Terence's Comedies and Plautus's Comedies (1694)|
By: John Leacock (1729-1802)
|The Fall of British Tyranny American Liberty Triumphant|
By: William Mountfort (1664-1692)
|Life and Death of Doctor Faustus Made into a Farce|
By: Charlotte Endymion Porter (1859-1942)
|Shakespeare Study Programs; The Comedies|
By: Henry Arthur Jones (1851-1929)
|Dolly Reforming Herself A Comedy in Four Acts|
By: Richmal Crompton (1890-1969)
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. (
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)
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...
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known works is Tartuffe or The Hypocrite, written in 1664. Though Tartuffe was received well by the public and even by Louis XIV, its popularity was lessened when the Archbishop of Paris issued an edict threatening excommunication for anyone who watched, performed in, or read the play.Tartuffe, a pious fraud who pretends to speak with divine authority, has insinuated himself into the household of Orgon...
By: Unknown (1622-1673)
|The Middle-Class Gentleman|
By: Cal Stewart (1856-1919)
Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories
A collection of comedic short stories from the perspective of an old country man.
By: Moliere (1622-1673)
The Imaginary Invalid
The Imaginary Invalid is a three-act comédie-ballet by the French playwright Molière. It was first performed in 1673 and was the last work he wrote. The plot centers around Argan, the 'imaginary invalid' who is completely dependent on his doctors and wants to marry his daughter to a doctor against her will, so that he will always have medical care freely available to him. In an ironic twist of fate, Molière collapsed during his fourth performance as Argan on 17 February and died soon after.
By: Molière (1622-1673)
The Miser is a comedy of manners about a rich moneylender named Harpagon. His feisty children long to escape from his penny-pinching household and marry their respective lovers. Although the 17th-century French upper classes presumably objected to the play's message, it is less savage and somewhat less realistic than Molière's earlier play, Tartuffe, which attracted a storm of criticism on its first performance.
By: Unknown (446? BC - 385? BC)
By: Aristophanes (446-389 BCE)
Athens is in a sorry state of affairs. The great tragedian, Euripides, is dead, and Dionysus, the god of the theater, has to listen to third-rate poetry. So, he determines to pack his belongings onto his trusty slave, Xanthias, and journey to the underworld to bring back Euripides! Hi-jinks ensue.
By: William Shakespeare (1554-1616)
Two Noble Kinsmen
The Two Noble Kinsmen is a Jacobean tragicomedy co-written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, first published in 1634. Set in ancient Greece during a war between Athens and Thebes, the narrative follows the title characters, Palamon and Arcite, noble youths whose friendship is destroyed by their mutual love for the beautiful Emilia. The subplot deals with the love and eventual madness of the Gaoler's Daughter, who falls hopelessly in love with Palamon. The play is based on "The Knight's Tale" by Chaucer, but also has echoes of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as two of the major characters are Theseus and Hippolyta, who also appear in the earlier play.
By: Unknown (1622-1673)
|The Impostures of Scapin|
|The School for Husbands|
By: Arthur Shirley (1853-1925)
|Three Hats A Farcical Comedy in Three Acts|