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Thread: What are the Funniest Classic Works of Literature You Have Read?

  1. #16
    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
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    Funniest of those: Catch-22, Huckleberry Finn, plays of Aristophanes, The Farce of Sodom.
    "So-Crates: The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing." "That's us, dude!"- Bill and Ted
    "This ain't over."- Charles Bronson
    Feed the Hungry!

  2. #17
    Wild is the Wind Silas Thorne's Avatar
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    I think maybe Catch 22 or Angela's Ashes for me.

  3. #18
    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson Richardson View Post
    That’s kind of you, Red. Coping, coping.

    From what I know of you, you might well find P G Wodehouse too gentle. But for what it’s worth, The Code of the Woosters is good, but it is a sequel to Right Ho. Jeeves! which has one particularly funny chapter describing the prize giving at Market Snodsbury grammar school, when the teetotaler prize giver has overdone the Dutch courage beforehand.

    I think Red would like Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest. I no longer laugh as I just quote lots of it from memory. It has a definitely dark side. Eg:

    Jack: I have lost both my parents, Lady Bracknell.

    Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune, Mr Worthing. To lose two looks like carelessness.
    Thanks. Good.
    I read that Wilde play in college. I remember it had a great deal of wit and I also remember liking it a lot and had a good time reading it.

    By the way, I just finished reading the first chapter of Scoop. I expect to continue. Ciao.
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

  4. #19
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    More from Ernest:

    The good ended happily and the bad ended unhappily. That is the meaning of fiction.

    Brilliant.

    I can't imagine you'd care for a novel about English eccentric aristocrats (although with scenes on the Communist side of the Spanish Civil War) so you might not like Nancy Mitfords's The Pursuit of Love.

    However Nancy's sister, Jessica, thought it was very funny as an account of their childhood and Jessica was a member of the American Communist Party during the McMarthy era, so you might be interested.

    (Two of their other sisters were both Fascists. The Mitfords were an extraordinary family.)

    Quote Originally Posted by mortalterror View Post
    1818 Thomas Love Peacock writes Nightmare Abbey parodying his friends Shelley and Byron...

    1878 Gilbert and Sullivan premiere H.M.S. Pinafore
    1879 Gilbert and Sullivan premiere The Pirates of Penzance..

    1885 Gilbert and Sullivan premiere The Mikado
    I don't think mortalterror and I have the same sense of humour (no Jane Austen) but I'm glad to see a mention of Thomas Love Peacock who I read when a teen (I was an atypical teenager) and I really like. Nightmare Abbey is the one I'd recommend. He probably appeals to me because of his combination of conservative social tastes with radical political sympathies. They are far from realistic novels, but with a definite ironic take on life.

    And Gilbert has a far darker and cynical side than his cosy fuddy duddy reputation:

    "I always voted at my party's call:
    I never thought of thinking for myself at all." (Pinafore)

    "I often wonder in my artless Japanese way why it is I am so much more attractive than other women. Can this be vanity? No! Nature glories in her beauties. I am a child of Nature and I take after my mother." (Mikado)
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  5. #20
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I found Thomas Love Peacock's Nightmare Abbey online and have been reading it. I don't know why it seemed to say "Read Me!" in mortalterror's list, but I do enjoy the "melancholy".

    I also thought Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was rather funny, but I never finished it. Anita Loos' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is pretty good. Another piece of humor written by a female. I don't know if it is a "classic" work.

  6. #21
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I enjoyed "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratched
    A funny and serious reflection about the forces of good x the forces of evil. x
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  7. #22
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    Something I read awhile back is a short story by Ohenry, I thought it hilarious because of the situation these two kidnappers put them selves,,,, Ransom for Red Chief,,, short story,,,,,,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    I enjoyed "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratched
    A funny and serious reflection about the forces of good x the forces of evil. x
    Pratched must be blamed for all comedy in Good Omens, his Discworld series is basically what would happen if Monty Python wrote a typical fantasy series. While Gaiman has a touch for irony (a Chesterton fan after all), he does not have that rythim for comedy.
    #foratemer

  9. #24
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Don Quixote probably -- the humor is consistent anyway, except for the godawful poetry.

  10. #25
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Pratched must be blamed for all comedy in Good Omens, his Discworld series is basically what would happen if Monty Python wrote a typical fantasy series. While Gaiman has a touch for irony (a Chesterton fan after all), he does not have that rythim for comedy.
    I didn´t know that, not having read anything else by them. I usually read older authors. But I liked the typical English humour of the story. It reminds me a bit of
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Camillo
    which you certainly know, though the context is very different.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  11. #26
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leopard View Post
    Dickens's The Pickwick Papers and the Alice books by Lewis Carroll.
    Pickwick Papers for me too... As well as Catch-22 and Three Men in a Boat

    Oh, and Steinbeck's Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday

    I read the former while I was new to the American Literature and English language and for a long while I thought it was "canary" and could not make any sense of the title!
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  12. #27
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I found Scoop very funny. I found Evelyn Waugh's Black Mischief not so funny and a bit racist. A Handful of Dust was very black comedy. Officers and Gentlemen was dry comedy. My dad liked it but I did not find it very funny.

    I don't know if Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim is considered a classic internationally, but I found that funny.

    Jane Austen can be quite funny. The scene where Mr Elliot is in the carriage with Emma Woodhouse in Emma is very funny. Lizzie Bennet's father in Pride and Prejudice is funny.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  13. #28
    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    I'm 100 pages into Scoop and I don't find it funny at all. I find it rather dull --- and I have been reading it slowly and carefully. I'm now finished with the first part called "The Stitch Service" and am proceeding with "20 Pound Sterling" (the 2nd part). Will it get better? I may not read another Waugh book.
    Last edited by Red Terror; 06-05-2017 at 05:58 PM.
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

  14. #29
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    In my opinion the first part is the best. O well senses of humour differ.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  15. #30
    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson Richardson View Post
    In my opinion the first part is the best. O well senses of humour differ.
    Thanks for the info. I might put it aside. I guess the sense of humor of Edwardian England was Pollyanish. I am depressed.
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

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