By: F. Anstey (1856-1934)
In Brief Authority
Satiric comedy from 1915 about a nouveau riche British family and their nanny who get whisked off to Maerchenland ('the land of Fairy Tales') one evening in a car drawn by storks. The matron of the family, a thorough snob, is crowned Queen of the country by mistake. She is quick to accept her new position and is determined to introduce British social niceties in her realm. And this really is the land of Fairy Tales, with gnomes, giants, a dragon, magic, a fairy godmother and more. Trouble quickly starts to brew as the royal couple and their son introduce things like capitalism and golf...
By: Herbert George Jenkins (1876-1923)
Adventures of Bindle
Jenkins' most popular fictional creation was Mr. Joseph Bindle, who first appeared in a humorous novel in 1916 and in a number of sequels. In the preface to the books, T. P. O'Connor said that "Bindle is the greatest Cockney that has come into being through the medium of literature since Dickens wrote Pickwick Papers". The stories are based on the comedic drama of life at work, at home and all the adventures that take place along the way.
By: Barton Wood Currie
Bored with his life as a wealthy businessman's only son, Travers Gladwin learns of a plot by a renowned art burglar to rob his house, so rather than thwart the planned burglary, he borrows a police uniform from a friend and decides to confront the robber by posing as an officer. When the burglar arrives at the house, he tries to pass himself off as Travers Gladwin. From there, things only get more complicated, including the arrival of the burglar's girlfriend who believes that her beau is the wealthy man's son. Comical and timely, the book was made into a movie multiple times, each hugely successful.
By: Irving Bacheller (1859-1950)
|'Charge It' Keeping Up With Harry|
By: Edward Streeter (1891-1976)
Bill is in training camp, preparing to go off to World War I. This book is a collection of love letters written to his sweetheart, Mable. The letters are humorous, mis-spelled, and have many stories of life in an army camp – all from Bill’s unique perspective.
|"Same old Bill, eh Mable!"|
By: Oliver Wendell Holmes
The One-Hoss Shay
This is a small collection of whimsical poems by the American physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. "The Deacon's Masterpiece" describes the "logical" outcome of building an object (in this case, a two-wheeled carriage called a shay) that has no weak points. The economic term "one hoss shay," referring to a certain model of depreciation, derives its name from this poem. "How the Old Horse Won the Bet" is a lighthearted look at a horse race. Finally, "The Broomstick Train" is a wonderfully Halloween-y explanation of how an electric tram really works.
|Over the Teacups|
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: John A. Joyce
Shakspere: Personal Recollections
Recording of Shakspere: Personal Recollections, by John A. Joyce.A fictitious account of a "friend" of William Shakespeare, who accompanies him from his birth to his death and beyond, chronicling Shakespeare's life, adventures, speeches, and impromptu bursts of poetry.
By: John Tenniel (1820-1914)
|Mr. Punch's Railway Book|
By: Clarence Day, Jr. (1874-1935)
This Simian World
Clarence Day, Jr., best known for his work Life with Father, presents a satirical speculation on how the world might be different if we apes had not risen to prominence, but rather one of the other species had become dominant in our place.
By: Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin (1856-1923)
|Bluebeard; a musical fantasy|
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.
|People You Know|
|Knocking the Neighbors|
By: Sara Ware Bassett (1872-1968)
Willie Spence may have been a bit eccentric by most standards, but he had a knack for creating gadgets in his small workshop at his home on Cape Cod. Whenever he was 'ketched' by an 'idee' he had to see it to completion, and always did. His small cottage on the Cape had become a labyrinth of string and wires tacked here and there so as to make life a bit challenging for his housekeeper Celestina. But she and most everyone else among the coastal towns and villages loved the old man for all his eccentricities as Willie spent his waning years just waiting for his ship to come in.
By: Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)
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: A. A. Milne (1882-1956)
Although best known for his Winnie the Pooh stories, A.A. Milne spent years as an editor at the English humor magazine Punch. These sprightly essays were chosen from the hundreds he wrote during that period. As usual, they are funny, wry, and poke fun at almost all of our human foibles. There are 6 short one act plays that he wrote to demonstrate the 6 allowable plots for amateur playwrights and they are absolutely hilarious. The other topics run the gamut from dogs to dates.
By: Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (1863-1944)
|The Adventures of Harry Revel|
By: Rudolf Erich Raspe (1737-1794)
The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The stories about Münchhausen were first collected and published by an anonymous author in 1781. An English version was published in London in 1785, by Rudolf Erich Raspe, as Baron Munchhausen's Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia, also called The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchhausen. It is not clear how much of the story material derives from the Baron himself; however, it is known that the majority of the stories are based on folktales that have been in circulation for many centuries before Münchhausen's birth.
By: Richard Barnum
Squinty the Comical Pig
"This comical children's tale about the funny adventures of a funny pig written by an unknown author. The publisher has hired authors to write children's tales, and gave them "house names". The "name" of the author who wrote this tale is Richard Barnum. It became very successful, the most well known of Richard Barnum's tales. So, if you want to laugh a little, even if you are not a child, read this book".
By: John Alexander Hammerton (1871-1949)
|Mr. Punch Awheel The Humours of Motoring and Cycling|
By: Oliver Herford (1863-1935)
This Giddy Globe
Is there a genre called FUN? Yes, and this is it! Insanely humorous geography that will have you rolling on the floor laughing with your sides hurting.
|The Mythological Zoo|
|The Rubáiyát of a Persian Kitten|
|Cupid's Almanac and Guide to Hearticulture for This Year and Next|
By: Timothy S. Arthur (1809-1885)
The reader cannot but smile at some of the phases of life presented in this volume. Yet the smile will, in no case, the author thinks, be at the expense of humanity, good feeling, or virtue. Many of the incidents given, are facts embellished by a few touches of fancy. In all, lessons may be read that some, at least, will do well to lay to heart.
By: John Leighton (1822-1912)
Christmas Comes but Once a Year
A Christmas tale of John Brown's ghastly family (suburban snobs), Captain Bonaventure de Camp and his equally awful brood (a dubious crew), and poor Soavo Spohf, organist of St. Stiff the Martyr, gifted in musical ability but not blessed in looks or love. No-one could call this a great work of literature, but it definitely raises a few chuckles and it also offers a fascinating glimpse into Christmas festivities and social mores in well-to-do households in the mid-19th century. (Introduction by Ruth Golding)
|The Royal Picture Alphabet|
By: Charles James Lever (1806-1872)
|Fortunes of Glencore|
By: Caroline Lockhart (1871-1962)
Spoiled, handsome, 24 year old Easterner meets pretty, no-nonsense gal from Wyoming, is instantly smitten and does a sea-change to try and impress her in this genial romantic comedy.
By: Anne Wales Abbott ed. (1808-1908)
Autumn Leaves, Original Pieces in Prose and Verse
The pieces gathered into this volume were, with two exceptions, written for the entertainment of a private circle, without any view to publication. The editor would express her thanks to the writers, who, at her solicitation, have allowed them to be printed. They are published with the hope of aiding a work of charity,—the establishment of an Agency for the benefit of the poor in Cambridge,—to which the proceeds of the sale will be devoted.
By: James T. Fields (1817-1881)
The Owl Critic
James Thomas Fields was an American publisher, editor, and poet. At the age of 14, Fields took a job at the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston. His first published poetry was included in the Portsmouth Journal in 1837 but he drew more attention when, on September 13, 1838, he delivered his “Anniversary Poem” to the Boston Mercantile Library Association.
By: Noah Lott
The Silly Syclopedia
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)
By: Rex Ellingwood Beach (1877-1949)
By: Rossiter Johnson (1840-1931)
|Stories of Comedy|
By: Robert J. Burdette (1844-1914)
Chimes From A Jester’s Bells
Part I. The Story of Rollo; Mr. Holliday knows all there is to know about raising children, or at least he thinks he does. His attempts to train his son, Rollo, "in the way he should go," are well-meant, but hilariously unsuccessful--or are they? I believe this is a sort of spoof of the “Rollo” series for children, that was written by Jacob Abbot in the mid 19th century. The characters have the same names and the chapters have a little Q&A at the end like the Abbot books, except these are definitely tongue-in-cheek...
By: Dion Clayton Calthrop (1878-1937)
|The Pirate's Pocket Book|
By: Alfred Henry Lewis (1857-1914)
|Faro Nell and Her Friends Wolfville Stories|
By: Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958)
Oh, Well, You Know How Women Are and Isn't That Just Like a Man!
This warm, affectionate duet of essays by two of the early twentieth century's most popular writers is a bit dated but still entertaining.
By: Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944)
|Roughing it De Luxe|
|Eating in Two or Three Languages|
By: Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903)
|Hans Breitman's ballads|
By: Sewell Ford (1868-1946)
|Wilt Thou Torchy|
|Odd Numbers Being Further Chronicles of Shorty McCabe|
|On With Torchy|
|Shorty McCabe on the Job|
|The House of Torchy|
|Torchy and Vee|
|Side-stepping with Shorty|
|Torchy As A Pa|