Channelling a razor-sharp satire through the everyday mishaps of the immortal comic character Mr Pooter, George and Weedon Grossmith's The Diary of a Nobody is edited with an introduction and notes by Ed Glinert in Penguin Classics. Mr Pooter is a man of modest ambitions, content with his ordinary life. Yet he always seems to be troubled by disagreeable tradesmen, impertinent young office clerks and wayward friends, not to mention his devil-may-care son Lupin with his unsuitable choice of bride.
In the bumbling, absurd, yet ultimately endearing character of Pooter, the Grossmith brothers created a wonderful portrait of the class system and the inherent snobbishness of the suburban middle-class suburbia - one which sends up the late Victorian crazes for Aestheticism, spiritualism and bicycling, as well as the fashion for publishing diaries by anybody and everybody. This edition contains the original illustrations by Weedon Grossmith and an introduction by Ed Glinert, author of The London Compendium, discussing the novel's serialisation in Punch, the growth of the suburbs and the figure of Mrs Pooter. George Grossmith (1847-1912) initially worked as a journalist, reporting Police Court proceedings for The Times.
In 1870 he began his career as a singer and entertainer, creating some of the most memorable characters in Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas. Weedon Grossmith (1854-1919) brother of George, was educated at the Slade and the Royal Academy with a view to following a career as a painter, and exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery and the Royal Academy. Joining a theatre company in 1885, he toured the provinces and America.
The best-known of his many plays, The Night of the Party, was published in 1901. If you enjoyed The Diary of a Nobody, you might like Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, also available in Penguin Classics.
'The funniest book in the world'Evelyn Waugh'True humour ... with its mixture of absurdity, irony and affection ... a masterpiece, immortal'J.B.