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The diary of a nobody [Hardcover]

George Grossmith
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

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Book Description


This Wordsworth Edition includes an exclusive Introduction and Notes by Michael Irwin, Professor of English Literature, University of Kent at Canterbury

The Diary of a Nobody is so unassuming a work that even its author, George Grossmith, seemed unaware that he had produced a masterpiece. For more than a century this wonderfully comic portrayal of suburban life and values has remained in print, a source of delight to generations of readers, and a major literary influence, much imitated but never equalled.

If you don't recognise yourself at some point in The Diary you are probably less than human. If you can read it without laughing aloud you have no sense of humour.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Folio Society; Folio Soc.ed. edition (1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0850670152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0850670158
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,085,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"There's a universality about Pooter that touches everybody...fits into the tradition of absurd humour that the British do well, which started with Jonathan Swift and runs through Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear to Monty Python" (Jasper Fforde Time Out)

"The funniest book in the world" (Evelyn Waugh)

"Pooter himself is as gentle as you could wish, a wonderful character, genuinely lovable. The book is beautifully constructed" (Andrew Davies Glasgow Herald)

"One of those rare books that nails a cultural archetype and has won the affection of successive generations" (The Times)

"The funniest book about a certain type of Englishness...there is a whole line of these comic characters like Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army, or Basil Fawlty" (Hugh Bonneville The Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

'Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see - because I do not happen to be a 'Somebody' - why my diary should not be interesting' Charles Pooter --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably relevant even now 8 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had heard lots of good things about the Diary of a Nobody, but was not really sure I would enjoy this type of work so put off reading it. However, finally I got round to it and found a pleasant, amusing read which, whilst it didn't become one of my all time favourites, I am nevertheless glad I read. This edition contains not only the diary itself, but lots of the original illustrations created by Weedon Grossmith, which are delightful and really help to bring the characters and story to life, as well as giving you an idea of how literature was often presented in the 19th century.

Charles Pooter is a clerical worker who has worked at the same job in the same company for years. He has been overlooked for promotion throughout that time. He decides to keep a diary of his middle-class, run of the mill life. In that diary we meet his long-suffering wife Carrie, his son Willie who renames himself Lupin as he feels his real name is too common, some of his less than respectful colleagues and a number of his friends - most notably Gowing and Cummins.

He makes lots puns/jokes which he thinks are hysterical but are actually awful, and his complete obliviousness to this is actually very amusing. He has social aspirations which he can never quite realise. He is bothered by tradesmen who don't seem to take his social status seriously, and ensuing conflicts are very funny.

The diary is really an early example of the type of observational humour which many of our stand-up comics use today. The diary remains remarkably modern/funny even now, more than 100 years after it was first released. Many of the problems Pooter encounters are so familiar even now.
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133 of 139 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant read 24 Feb 2009
The Diary of a Nobody tells in diary form the story of a certain Mr Pooter, clerk by profession and a man of no importance or interest. He is somewhat pompous, dull, and stuffy, with pretensions towards gentility but lacking in social skills and self-awareness. He is quite a ridiculous figure, and one who is taken advantage of by many who he is pleased to call his friends, and mocked by his juniors at work. Additionally, all tradesmen are his nemeses. As he sets this down in his diary, however, Mr. Pooter is often oblivious to his own foolishness and to the impression he creates in others, and in the reader.

Mr. Pooter's son Lupin is the main source of incident in his father's life. He is a youth of high spirits and little respect for his elders, including his father. Lupin undertakes a love affair with a young lady called Daisy Mutlar; he is desperately in love with this young lady , who seems to Mr. Pooter to be of no remarkable attraction or accomplishments. Concurrent with this torrid affair, Lupin finds and loses several jobs, joins an amateur dramatics club and speculates on the stock exchange with his father's money.

Though over 100 years old, this book is still funny for the modern reader. It was written with the contemporary audience in mind but the humour has not dated. As another reviewer noted, Mr Pooter is something of a 19th century David Brent. The style is notably uncluttered and unaffected. It is a short book(145 pages approx. in this edition) and extremely readable. From a relatively uneventful start, it gathers momentum with the arrival of Lupin. Pooter's character broadens somewhat to become a decent everyman, though none the less ridiculous for that. This book ends long before the reader has had enough of the bumbling central character, and is a very pleasant, undemanding read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong contender... 23 Jun 2004
This heart-warming classic is a strong contender for the funniest book ever written. Read it immediately, then buy a second copy as a peace offering for your worst enemy - if it doesn't wipe the snarl off their face, they're a lost cause....
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Edwardian farce 17 Feb 2004
By uncle barbar TOP 100 REVIEWER
This book is a little subtle - if you can't read in between the lines then you won't find it funny. If you can then the subtle humour can't help but amuse you. Pooter is lovable, ridiculous, pompous and trivial - a fully rounded character who is quite oblivious to how most of the world perceives him.
A classic.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too delicious for words 11 Mar 2004
This is a wonderful book - I chuckled, smirked and slapped my head with delighted exasperation (whilst sitting on crowded commuter train - I am something in The City you know) at Pooter and his bewildered stumbling through the cosmic joke of his existence.
In some ways it is an 'old' book, the obsession with class and position drip through every page, with Pooters inept attempts to maintain or enhance his social position. But in many ways it is about the modern world - the alienated nobody, slogging away in an office, thinking he is better than this - when of course he isn't.
So glorious, that I am considering forming a religion based on the exquisite wisdom found inside this slim volume.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious! 15 Jan 2008
By helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I honestly never knoew that such an old book could be so hilarious! It's written in such a brilliant way that you can "see" it all happening - it very vivid. I think they should do a film of this! One of the best books I have read for a long time!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please release on CD 6 Sep 2011
By Nina
Format:Audio Cassette
Dear Martin Jarvis.

I wonder if the BBC are not releasing the Arthur Lowe recording of Diary of a Nobody because of the existence of a more recent one read by you (which is very good).

Please would you do your utmost to convince your friends at the BBC that you really wouldn't be offended if they did the proper thing and released this very special recording on CD.

Thank you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars ... yet powerful enough to show how 'ordinary' people are easily taken...
Enchanting writing of the life of Mr Ordinary - yet powerful enough to show how 'ordinary' people are easily taken advantage of ...
Published 8 days ago by Len Clark
4.0 out of 5 stars It's no great piece of literary work but that doesn't really matter
This book is a enjoyable read. It's no great piece of literary work but that doesn't really matter. The story, set in the 19th century, is about a guy who is beginning to 'get up'... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Plain Speaking
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Nice edition of a classic read.
Published 1 month ago by mrs fiona c m reece
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming book with much we can relate to today plus a few things that...
This book gives a fascinating social historical picture of life in Victorian Britain for the middle classes. Mr Pooter is a bit of a pompous berk at times but aren’t we all? Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sarah Tipper
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
It is what it says on the cover, the diary of a nobody but written in such a way that you want to keep turning the page, very entertaining and the character so very likeable, and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by carol williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny book, and a nice short read. Don't bother getting the...
I was recommended this book to read by a friend, and bought the illustrated version on Kindle, however there were no illustrations to be seen, which is mis-leading to say the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by IKelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Diary of a Nobody book
Interesting account of life at that time, and as a classic, Fast delivery, and worthy of reading for historical insight.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. D. Fletcher
5.0 out of 5 stars More interesting than I thought
I have heard about this title, and thought I would give it a try as it was not expensive. A little dull at first but a real insight into life in history. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jack
1.0 out of 5 stars Social History now . . . not Humour.
I rate as One Star for all the good reasons that Gavin Wilson states in his Three Star review above but feel that my observations here lower the rating
It is an excellent... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Reader in Lilliput
5.0 out of 5 stars Diary of a Nobody
I have given this product 5 stars because this book is very very funny and enjoyable. I would recommend this product. Thank you.
Published 4 months ago by Dream Customer
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