Nonsense Novels

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New York Review of Books, 2005 - Fiction - 159 pages
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A gift? Yes-a gift for you. You're welcome.—from the introduction by Daniel Handler

Nonsense Novels sends up the silliest conventions of the ghost story, the detective story, the rags-to-riches story, the adventure story, the shipwreck story, and, of course, the story itself. Among other things. Here the close cultivation of cliché yields a bumper crop of absurdity and the utterly ludicrous turns up at every new twist of the tale.

This is a satirical masterpiece. Stephen Leacock was a genius.
 

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Contents

PREFACE
3
MADDENED BY MYSTERY or The Defective Detective
5
Q A Psychic Pstory of the Psupernatural
19
GUIDO THE GIMLET OF GHENT A Romance of Chivalry
35
GERTRUDE THE GOVERNESS or Simple Seventeen
45
A HERO IN HOMESPUN or The Life Struggle of Hezekiah Hayloft
61
SORROWS OF A SUPER SOUL or The Memoirs of Marie Mushenough
75
HANNAH OF THE HIGHLANDS or The Laird of Loch Aucherlocherty
91
SOAKED IN SEAWEED or Upset in the Ocean
107
CAROLINES CHRISTMAS or The Inexplicable Infant
123
THE MAN IN ASBESTOS An Allegory of the Future
141
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About the author (2005)

Stephen Leacock (1869-1944) was born in Hampshire, England, but grew up in a small town in Ontario, one of eleven children. He studied with Thorstein Veblen at the University of Chicago and later taught in the Department of Economics and Political Science at McGill University. In 1906, he composed a textbook,Elements of Political Science, which was used throughout the world, and in 1910 the publication of Literary Lapses, a collection of humorous magazine pieces, brought him fame as a comic author. Thereafter, Leacock wrote prolifically, gaining international popularity with such works as Nonsense Novels(1911), Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912), and Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich (1914), as well as biographies of his literary heroes, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. An ardent imperialist and nationalist, Leacock was in great demand as a speaker, undertaking an international tour for the Rhodes Trust in 1907 and 1908 and a Canadian tour to promote national unity in 1936. During his life he was awarded the Mark Twain Medal and the Lorne Pierce Medal from the Royal Society of Canada, among many other prizes. The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour has been awarded annually since 1947.

Daniel Handler is the author of the novels The Basic Eight andWatch Your Mouth, and (allegedly) the sequence of children's books A Series of Unfortunate Events, published under the name Lemony Snicket. 

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