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Old 06-18-2015, 07:21 AM   #1
Pamplemousse
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Victorian humour recommendations, please!

Lately I've gotten hooked on late 1800s / early 1900s comedy books and would love recommendations for some more.

I love Three Men In A Boat (to say nothing of the dog). I've read all of Jerome K Jerome's other books, although none of them are quite as good as that.

I'd be happy for recommendations for any good books written 1850-1920, but particularly funny ones.

Off the top of my head, other books from the period that I've read in the last year and a half:

Everything by PG Wodehouse

Diary of a Nobody

Edith Nesbit books (I like children's books too - The Children of Green Knowe is amazing, although not from the period I'm talking about)

Mark Twain stories: Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn etc. Some of his stories aren't that funny though.

Robert Louis Stevenson (not funny but amazing)

Wizard of Oz books - I gave up after the second one as they got really boring.

Alice in Wonderland / underground

Oscar Wilde - all his work

Dickens funnier stories

Most Gothic Literarure greats - Frankenstein (I was surprised how annoying the main character was), Dracula etc

Conan Doyle's Sherlock books

Houseboat on the Styx - funny, but more satire than I like - I don't know enough about politics from the period to get too much from it. I read a couple more by Bangs but they weren't amazing.

A man called Thursday - enjoyable, even if the ending wasn't

Pride and Prejudice

Monkey: a journey to the West (okay, that's a lot older and not Western lit, it was still funny though at times it was trying to go for political satire which doesn't really work 500 years later in a different continent)

H G Wells books - generally enjoyable

Jules Verne - he's too obsessed by numbers and not interested in how people feel, so I find him tiresome. I've read four of his books but won't be reading any more.

Saki's complete short stories - some gems in there, very Oscar Wilde. He's a bit of a woman hater and animals always seem to get hurt horribly in his stories though!

History of Tom Jones: A Foundling - had its moments but got dull before the halfway point and never recovered.

Shakespeare's funnier plays can be fun but I find reading a play less involving than reading a novel. I know that's not the right period either!

Probably more, but my mind's gone blank now!

Any suggestions for less well known gems out there?
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Old 06-18-2015, 08:32 AM   #2
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on the early end (published in the 1840s-1850s but reflecting an earlier time)
William Makepeace Thackeray - "Vanity Fair"
Elizabeth Gaskell - "Cranford"

Anthony Trollope - "Barchester Towers"

at the end of the period - E.F.Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels (the first was written in 1920)
Queen Lucia
Miss Mapp
Lucia in London
Mapp and Lucia
Lucia's Progress
Trouble for Lucia
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:29 AM   #3
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Here's a course syllabus which has some interesting titles you may wish to pursue:

http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departme...are-not-amused
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:41 AM   #4
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The Wind in the Willows
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:47 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions so far!
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:20 PM   #6
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Edward Lear's poetry comes to mind. A number of his Nonsense books of verse are available from Project Gutenberg, but don't appear to be in the MR's library.
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Old 06-18-2015, 05:19 PM   #7
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You could try the "Hopalong Cassidy" books by Clarence E. Mulford. They are Westerns, but written with humour. He died in 1956, and many of his books were written before 1923, so those are in the public domain in the USA and Life+50 countries.
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bfisher View Post
on the early end (published in the 1840s-1850s but reflecting an earlier time)
William Makepeace Thackeray - "Vanity Fair"
Elizabeth Gaskell - "Cranford"

Anthony Trollope - "Barchester Towers"

at the end of the period - E.F.Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels (the first was written in 1920)
Queen Lucia
Miss Mapp
Lucia in London
Mapp and Lucia
Lucia's Progress
Trouble for Lucia
I recently viewed the Mapp and Lucia tv series here in Sydney. Excellent!!

I hadn't come across EF Benson prior to that, he's now on my TBR list.
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:57 PM   #9
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I recently viewed the Mapp and Lucia tv series here in Sydney. Excellent!!

I hadn't come across EF Benson prior to that, he's now on my TBR list.
Have you seen the Cranford mini-series? Excellent (but quite a lot different from the book).
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:59 PM   #10
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Have you read any of the Elizabeth Peters 'Amelia Peabody' books? The series starts in the 1890's (from memory) and goes through to the early 1920's.

Amelia and her archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are forever engaging with all types of crooks, scoundrels and archeological 'finds' in Egypt. The books are written in a wonderfully witty style.

I used to eagerly await for the next in the series to be published.

Last edited by Lynx-lynx; 06-18-2015 at 07:15 PM. Reason: correct typo
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:00 PM   #11
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Have you seen the Cranford mini-series? Excellent (but quite a lot different from the book).
Umm, was Cranford (amongst other things) about the train line going through the countryside around the town?
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:01 PM   #12
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To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis is a brilliant book.

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From Booklist
What a stitch! Willis' delectable romp through time from 2057 back to Victorian England, with a few side excursions into World War II and medieval Britain, will have readers happily glued to the pages. Rich dowager Lady Schrapnell has invaded Oxford University's time travel research project in 2057, promising to endow it if they help her rebuild Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by a Nazi air raid in 1940. In effect, she dragoons almost everyone in the program to make trips back in time to locate items--in particular, the bishop's bird stump, an especially ghastly example of Victorian decorative excess. Time traveler Ned Henry is suffering from advanced time lag and has been sent, he thinks, for rest and relaxation to 1888, where he connects with fellow time traveler Verity Kindle and discovers that he is actually there to correct an incongruity created when Verity inadvertently brought something forward from the past. Take an excursion through time, add chaos theory, romance, plenty of humor, a dollop of mystery, and a spoof of the Victorian novel, and you end up with what seems like a comedy of errors but is actually a grand scheme "involving the entire course of history and all of time and space that, for some unfathomable reason, chose to work out its designs with cats and croquet mallets and penwipers, to say nothing of the dog. And a hideous piece of Victorian artwork." Sally Estes
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:10 PM   #13
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If you liked Sherlock Holmes, you might like the E Hornung's Raffles stories.

Written by A.C. Doyle's Brother-in-Law, they are about an amateur burglar in London in the 1890's.

epub link from MR - http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74597
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:17 PM   #14
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Umm, was Cranford (amongst other things) about the train line going through the countryside around the town?
Yes, and the cat eating the lace...
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:19 PM   #15
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Yes, and the cat eating the lace...
Oh yep, some very good script writing in that series.
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