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By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

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 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: 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 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: 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.

By: Henri Bergson (1859-1941)

Book cover Laughter : an Essay on the Meaning of the Comic

By: Henry Arthur Jones (1851-1929)

Book cover Dolly Reforming Herself A Comedy in Four Acts

By: Henry James (1843-1916)

The Europeans by Henry James The Europeans

The Europeans: A sketch is a short novel by Henry James, published in 1878. It is essentially a comedy contrasting the behaviour and attitudes of two visitors from Europe with those of their relatives living in the ‘new’ world of New England. The novel first appeared as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly for July-October, 1878. James made numerous minor revisions for the first book publication.

By: Herbert Jenkins (1876-1923)

Patricia Brent, spinster by Herbert Jenkins 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: 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: Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944)

Cobb's Anatomy by Irvin S. Cobb Cobb's Anatomy

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.

By: J. M. Barrie (1860-1937)

The Admirable Crichton by J. M. Barrie The Admirable Crichton

From the author of Peter Pan:Lord Loam, a British peer, considers class divisions to be artificial. He promotes his views during tea-parties where servants mingle with his aristocratic guests, to the embarrassment of all. Crichton, his butler, particularly disapproves of this.Loam, his family, a maid, and Crichton are shipwrecked on a deserted tropical island. The resourceful Crichton is the only one of the party with any practical knowledge. Eventually, social roles are reversed, and Crichton becomes the governor.

By: James Sheridan Knowles (1784-1862)

Book cover The Hunchback

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: Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Emma by Jane Austen Emma

A comedy of manners, Emma portrays the spoilt, snobbish, yet charming Emma Woodhouse as she delightfully interferes in the relationships of others without taking much notice of her own heart. Although quick to make prejudgments and decisions, Emma is eventually able to notice her mistakes, and it is this revelation that makes her an endearing heroine and an inspiration to women throughout. Austen has not only created, but also brought to life the world inhabited by her characters through her vivid depictions and clever use of wit...

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a book about the life of Catherine Morland and her romantic relationships. The novel is divided into two parts; the first part begins with Catherine’s visit to Bath and her relationship with Henry Tilney and the other people she met there, and the second part starts with the arrival of Frederick Tilney and her visit to Northanger Abbey. This book alongside Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility is considered one of the major works of Jane Austen. The novel had undergone many revisions before its publication and it was even originally titled “Catherine...

By: Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1827)

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

If this is your first encounter with Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) you're certainly in for a treat! One of the most delightful examples of Victorian humor, this book by Jerome K Jerome is all the way a fun cruise down the Thames River with some funny characters for company. Three Men in a Boat was originally meant to be a serious piece of travel writing, full of local flavors, legends and folklore about England's mighty river. As it turned out, somewhere along the way, the author Jerome found himself catapulted into a madcap adventure...

Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow by Jerome K. Jerome Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow

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.

Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome Three Men on the Bummel

Our Friends from Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog, are back. In this funny sequel to Three Men in a Boat J., George, and Harris are out of the boat and on the land riding their bikes. Their lives are too stressful and they need a break from the daily mundane, so they put their heads together and come up with a brilliant idea they decide to travel through the Black Forest of Germany on a bicycling tour. Since two of our friends are now married it seems they will also have to convince...

Stage Land by Jerome K. Jerome Stage Land

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”

Book cover Fanny and the Servant Problem

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 Galsworthy (1867-1933)

Book cover The Silver Box
Book cover Windows
Book cover Skin Game

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,...

Book cover Skin Game

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,...

By: John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922)

The Idiot by John Kendrick Bangs The Idiot

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 Bangs' “Idiot” books and was published by Harper and Brothers in 1895.

Book cover The Bicyclers and Three Other Farces
Genial Idiot by John Kendrick Bangs Genial Idiot

John Kendrick Bangs once again takes us on a journey with the loveable, but somewhat self-opinionated and irritating Mr Idiot.

Genial Idiot by John Kendrick Bangs Genial Idiot

John Kendrick Bangs once again takes us on a journey with the loveable, but somewhat self-opinionated and irritating Mr Idiot.

By: John Leacock (1729-1802)

Book cover The Fall of British Tyranny American Liberty Triumphant

By: John Lydgate (1370?-1451?)

Book cover Disguising at Hertford

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: Lawrence Echard (1670?-1730)

Book cover Prefaces to Terence's Comedies and Plautus's Comedies (1694)

By: Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942)

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of Green Gables

Montgomery’s literary classic recounts the exciting adventures undertaken by the fiery eleven-year-old Anne Shirley, an orphan girl accidentally adopted by middle aged siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. A coming-of-age novel, Anne of Green Gables focuses on Anne’s new life at Green Gables farm in Avonlea and her adjustment into the Prince Edward Island community. The story launches when the aging siblings Matthew and Marilla decide that they could use an extra hand around their farm, and believe that adopting an orphan boy would be an appropriate solution...

By: Mark Ambient (1860-1937)

Book cover Oh! Susannah! A Farcical Comedy in Three Acts

By: Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Regarded as the pride and joy of American literature, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a picturesque novel depicting Huck’s epic journey from boyhood to manhood and the struggles he must face living in a corrupt society. The novel serves as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, another famous work by Mark Twain. The plot unfolds in several locations sometime before the Civil War. The book opens with a description of Huck’s new life as he undergoes a process of “civilization” while living with the Widow Douglas and her sister Miss Watson...

1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors by Mark Twain 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors

An atypical piece of writing by Mark Twain, the short bawdy skit documents a conversion between Queen Elizabeth and several notable writers of the time, including Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Beaumont, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare. Despite first being published in 1880, the piece remained anonymous for a period of time, until it was later acknowledged by Twain in 1901 as his own. Comprised of humor, descriptive imagery, ribald connotations, and vulgar language, the faux conversation is simultaneously humorous and repulsing, but nonetheless a wonder for its satirical precision...

The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories by Mark Twain The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories

A collection of comical short stories by renowned American humorist and author Mark Twain, the compilation features 30 stories published in 1906. Presenting a colorful array of tales, the short stories cover various periods of Twain’s writing career, while also allowing him to revise and perfect each story. Exploring various topics including abusive hierarchical power, human recklessness, and backfiring expectations, the collection offers a sweet treat to satisfy every taste. The anthology begins with the story “The $30,000 Bequest” which introduces the married couple Electra and Saladin who live a modest yet comfortable life with their two daughters...

Extracts from Adam's Diary by Mark Twain Extracts from Adam's Diary

Get the true story of Adam and Eve, straight from the source. This humorous text is a day-to-day account of Adam’s life from happiness in the “GARDEN-OF-EDEN” to their fall from grace and the events thereafter. Learn how Eve caught the infant Cain, and Adam takes some time to learn exactly what it is.

A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain A Tramp Abroad

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...

Eve's Diary by Mark Twain Eve's Diary

Eve's Diary is a comic short story by Mark Twain. It was first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of the magazine Harper's Bazaar, and in book format in June 1906 by Harper and Brothers publishing house. It is written in the style of a diary kept by the first woman in the Judeao-Christian creation myth, Eve, and is claimed to be "translated from the original MS." The "plot" of this novel is the first-person account of Eve from her creation up to her burial by, her mate, Adam, including meeting and getting to know Adam, and exploring the world around her, Eden...

The Awful German Language by Mark Twain The Awful German Language

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)...

The Stolen White Elephant by Mark Twain The Stolen White Elephant

"The Stolen White Elephant" was written by Mark Twain and published in 1882. In it, an Indian elephant, en route from India to Britain as a gift to the Queen, disappears in New Jersey. The local police department goes into high gear to solve the mystery but it all comes to a tragic end. Twain's satirical look at the police and newspaper worlds of the 1880's illustrates some of the more outrageous proclivities of each.

Book cover Mark Twain's (Burlesque) Autobiography and First Romance

Mark Twain's (Burlesque) Autobiography and First Romance, a short volume, published by Sheldon & Co., NY in 1871, is Mark Twain's third book. It consists of two stories - First Romance, which had originally appeared in The Express in 1870, and A Burlesque Autobiography (bearing no relationship to Twain's actual life), which first appeared in Twain's Memoranda contributions to the Galaxy. Rather, the content consists of a few short stories of fictional characters who are supposedly part of Twain's lineage...

The American Claimant by Mark Twain The American Claimant

The American Claimant is an 1892 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The story focuses on the class differences and expectations of monarchic, hierarchical Britain and the upstart, "all men are created equal" America. Twain wrote the novel with the help of phonographic dictation, the first author (according to Twain himself) to do so. This was also (according to Twain) an attempt to write a book without mention of the weather, the first of its kind in fictitious literature. Indeed, all the weather is contained in an appendix, at the back of the book, which the reader is encouraged to turn to from time to time.

Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion by Mark Twain Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion

Written for the Atlantic magazine in 1877, this is a collection of stories about a trip Mark Twain made with some friends to Bermuda. It contains fascinating descriptions of Bermuda the island, and some of its people as well as an explanation of why Bermuda's houses are "so white".

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: Molière

Tartuffe by Molière Tartuffe

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: Moliere (1622-1673)

Book cover 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: Nicholas Udall (1505-1556)

Book cover Ralph Roister Doister

By: Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-1852)

Book cover The Inspector-General

By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde The Canterville Ghost

An American diplomat's family moves into an ancient stately mansion. They're warned by the owner that it is haunted by a most horrifying and gruesome spirit who had once cruelly murdered his own wife. The story progresses with creaking floor boards, mysterious passages, dark attics, clanking chains, and weird howling. Yet, the reader is totally unprepared for Oscar Wilde's brand of tongue in cheek humor as he takes all the ingredients of a traditional ghost story and turns it on its head, and creates a hilarious parody instead of a morbid saga! The Canterville Ghost was the first of Oscar Wilde's short stories to be published...

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde The Importance of Being Earnest

A wealthy philanthropist adopts an abandoned baby he finds in a railway station waiting room. The child grows into a fine, upstanding young man. When his benefactor dies, he is made the guardian of the old man's lovely young daughter. But unknown to everyone, he leads a double life that even his best friend knows nothing about... If you thought that this has all the makings of a most sinister and diabolical plot, you couldn't be more mistaken. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a light as a feather confection, full of mischief, fun and laughter! Written in 1894, this was Wilde's last play...


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