‘The jewel at the heart of English comic literature’

Posted on 26th November 2019 by simonbeattie

In our recent e-list, we featured what the great William Trevor once called ‘The jewel at the heart of English comic literature’, and one of our favourite recent acquisitions: George and Weedon Grossmith’s The Diary of a Nobody.

Our copy of The Diary.

This copy is the first edition in book form, first issue (with the final leaf of adverts used as the rear pastedown). The novel ‘first appeared as a serial in Punch in 1888–9 and was published (in considerably expanded form) as a book by J. W. Arrowsmith of Bristol in June 1892. It was at once recognized as one of the most amusing novels in the English language; similarly, the “nobody” of the title—Charles Pooter of The Laurels, Brickfield Terrace, Holloway—was immediately recognized as one of the great English comic characters. The book was also a sharp analysis of social insecurity’ (Oxford DNB). The brothers who authored the book, George and Weedon Grossmith (1847–1912 and 1854–1919, respectively), found lasting fame through The Diary, with Weedon going on to become a successful comic character actor playing alongside the likes of Henry Irving (ibid.).

The publisher’s design for the binding is, we must admit, quite charming, and the book is full of amusing (full-page!) illustrations:

For more on this, and some other fantastic recent acquisitions, check out our most recent e-list, available as a PDF by clicking here.

Posted in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *