Monday, March 05, 2007

The Diary...of a Nobody

Parody and tongue-in-cheek humor were perfected in Victorian Britain, and found their outlet in the popular magazine Punch. The Diary of a Nobody was published serially by two brothers. Both George and Weedon Grossmith wrote the story, and Weedon Grossmith drew the illustrations.

Charles Pooter takes his diary very seriously, and keeps a careful record of the family trials, honors, and insults, as well as jokes made by him and unappreciated by anyone else, except for his wife.

Poor Mr. Pooter tries to behave himself with dignity, but he invariably slips on the dance floors, trips over the carpet, or finds himself taken advantage of by his cocky son or less-than-genteel friends. He relates in excruciating detail his dealings with cabmen, shopkeepers, and the after-affects of too much champagne. Still, he valiantly soldiers on and is rewarded at the end, according to the nature of his character. His dignity may be wounded from time to time, but never entirely overcome.

He's a good sort of fellow, if a bit ridiculous, and his name has given rise to the expression "pooterism," which basically means going on at length about mundane matters, in the mistaken belief that your listeners (or blog readers) are interested in all those little details.

Because this book was serialized, I read a chapter a day (they are rather short) for the last month or so, and it has been a lot of fun. My book has all the original illustrations, and nobody was as good at making fun of themselves as the Victorians.


At 2:22 PM , Blogger Mama Squirrel said...

Ah HA--"Pooterism."

At 6:45 PM , Blogger Birdie said...

Does that make me a "Pooterist"? ;)

At 4:40 AM , Blogger molly jean said...

I am definitly an unispired Pooter.
I've been contemplating what makes some people such personalities, intresting characters... Is it humour, intensity of some kind?

I just stumbled on your blog. I am very intrested in East Europe and hope to go there some day!

I will bookmark and come back!
Molly Jean Henson

At 6:23 PM , Blogger Melanie said...

This book is fun to read aloud, too, but you have to stop to share the pictures.:) I enjoyed the Pooter family & friends - as you say,'nobody was as good at making fun of themselves as the Victorians'.


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