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Nonsense novels [Unknown Binding]

Stephen Leacock
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 189 pages
  • Publisher: John Lane The Bodley Head (1952)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007KDGY0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful nonsense 20 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Stephen Leacock has only recently been introduced to me - I was shown Literary Lapses by an uncle who had a copy published in the 1920s, and laughed out loud many times while reading, so I bought my own copy and a copy of this (and a copy of this for my uncle, who said it was not of the ten other Leacock books he already owned, and thoroughly enjoyed it). You can see where PG Wodehouse originally found inspiration for his comic writings, and this contains what must be the earliest use of the phrase 'stately home', with which Noel Coward is usually credited. Surely the Python team must also have read some Leacock in their youth and picked up some of his influence. The writing is very clever, and yet skips lightly over the erudition to land squarely in the area of nonsense, and is a constant delight. I can't wait to get on to more of his books, and thoroughly recommend it to all!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 23 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Blast from the past but never fails to make me laugh. Just as true and observant as when it was written, a classic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best buy in comic reading ever! 27 Mar 2003
By P. Nailon - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Where do I begin to describe the absolutely astonishing quality of Leacock's work? I first heard of Stephen Leacock when reading a book about the Marx brothers. It seems Groucho was on a train, and happened to pass the room of Jack Benny (who was traveling with them, working on the same vaudeville circuit. Groucho heard Benny screaming with laughter, and popped his head into Benny's room to see what the commotion was. Benny told Groucho that it was a book by Leacock, whom Groucho admitted to not knowing. Benny told Groucho, "It's the funniest stuff I've ever read!" Groucho later bought a copy of the book, loved it as much as Benny, and said that he always looked for anything written by Stephen Leacock.
Okay, but what about his stories? Leacock's stock in trade was the parody of classic literature - stories about humble girls of (unknowingly) noble ancestry, who are engaged to work as servants for title lords, only to fall in love with the son of the mansion are turned into hysterically funny romps, where the lies not in the intentionally funny line, but in carefully crafted twists of standard sentence construction.
A sample, from the above-described story, called "Gertrude the Governess; or Simply Seventeen":
"Young Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the house, flung himself upon his horse, and rode madly off in all directions."
Leacock treats the classic tale of knighthood (handsome, strong knight declares his love for the gentle maiden of the castle, and she loves him too, though they've never met) to similarly wicked entanglement of story and prose.
"Sorrows of a Super Soul" tells the classic Russian tale of an unrequited love, while "Carolyn's Christmas" the story of the old farmer, his family away (one son in the city, another in prison), his farm mortgaged, and a strange girl happening upon the family on Christmas Eve, with a baby, but no wedding ring. Both of these, and all other stories in this slim book, will have you laughing until you cry.
Buy a copy, get hooked. If Groucho and Jack Benny thought this was the best humor ever, how can it not satisfy you too?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Humor from 90 Years Ago-- Still Funny & Relevant 22 Sep 2005
By Chris Ward - Published on
Leacock is one of a handful of literary parodists and humorists (Perelman, Benchley, Twain) whose parodies, though more or less a century old, are still laugh-out-loud funny. If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan, Leacock's "Maddened by Mystery: or, The Defective Detective" will make you chortle. If you appreciate romance novels, "Gertrude The Governess" will still tickle. Canadian Leacock was a master humorist with a light touch, and an unerring deflator of cliche and presumption. This collection of short pieces will still entertain the sophisticated fan of written humor, and should be in every collection.

*Note: The full text of this book is available online.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some sense in Nonsense 6 Jan 2006
By lee freke - Published on
Wit is often not associated with the academe. Therefore it is a suprise to see such wit in Stephen Leacock. As a professor of Economics at McGill University in the mid 20th century, Leacock was counted among Canada's greatest humorists.

In the Nonsense Novels, Leacocks unleashes parodies of most literary genres: The Great Detective, the first tale, satirizes Arthur Conan Doyle's Scandal in Bohemia.

There are tales of capers involving gullible women, a desert island landing with an alternate ending, analysis of societal conditions, and some stories that are plain nonsense.

A Hero in Homespun and the Man in Asbetoes are two worth reading; the latter being a farcical exposition on the future of capitalism and scientific advancement - very scary, if it were not so funny.

I was introduced to Leacock while browsing, and have not been disappointed.

If you feel overwhelmed by the importance attached to triviality today, then you might do well to pick up and read the Nonsense Novels.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars clever, whimsical 10 Sep 2010
By mango™ - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had never even heard of Stephan Leacock, but I read about his writings and wanted to read him for myself.

Picture yourself in the office of The Great Detective:

"At the same moment there was a slight scratching at the door. A visitor entered. He crawled stealthily on his hands and knees. A hearthrug thrown over his head and shoulders disguised his identity. He crawled to the middle of the room. Then he rose.
Great Heavens! It was the Prime Minister of England.
"You!" said the detective.
"Me," said the Prime Minister.

I have truly found a kindred spirit, who makes me giggle and laugh out loud at his silly inventiveness. My only problem with this book is that it is really a brief series of short vignettes. I want MORE!
3.0 out of 5 stars Had higher hopes for this 24 July 2012
By bookerish - Published on
I thought this was going to be more transcendent, in terms of its enduring quality (it was advertised to me this way) but the satire here feels old and a little tired.
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