The Diary of a Nobody – Serial beginning this week

17 Feb

Over the years a number of people have remarked that the T. John Dick books remind them of that timeless classic, The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith and asked me if the book was an influence on my writing. The answer is, while it is extremely flattering to be compared to a timeless classic, there is no direct influence. I had not read this little gem, when I penned The Management Secrets of T. John Dick. However, it’s a pretty good bet that some of those writers who have influenced me were themselves influenced by The Diary of a Nobody. H.F. Ellis comes to mind.

A stag's headSince it seems highly probable that people who enjoy my books would enjoy The Diary of a Nobody even more, I thought it would be fun to publish it here on my blog and to do so in the manner of its original publication in serial form. So every Monday and Friday for the next twelve weeks, I’ll be publishing a chapter. The chapters are short and easily digested, so I hope you will find time to read them as we go along.

If the picture makes you think of Basil Fawlty, the similarity ends there. This is a much gentler type of humour.

First, a word about the author and the illustrator. George Grossmith began his literary career as a police court reporter for The Times, but he was a talented actor, singer and dancer and was soon performing a one-man show, delivering his own comic monologues and songs at the piano. In 1877 he was offered a part in the D’Oyly Carte production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera The Sorcerer and he remained with the company for 12 years, creating many of Gilbert and Sullivan’s major comic roles.

In 1888, Grossmith began writing a series of humorous articles for Punch magazine, illustrated by his brother Weedon. These articles parodied the books of memoirs then being inflicted on the reading public by self-important windbags whom nobody had ever heard of. Unlike these memoirs, however, The Diary of a Nobody recounts no meetings with the leading figures of the day nor does it tell of the author’s involvement in important events – just the everyday happenings in the life of an ordinary office clerk, living in a quiet suburb of London, recorded in meticulous detail.

The Punch articles were a great success, and in 1892 a slightly expanded version appeared as a book, which is now regarded as one of the classics of humorous literature.

I hope you enjoy it. The short preface and first chapter will appear shortly.


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