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The Diary of a Nobody with ALS George and Weedon Grossmith 1st 1892

The Diary of a Nobody with ALS George and Weedon Grossmith 1st 1892


GROSSMITH, George & Weedon; [Weedon GROSSMITH, Illus.]

The Diary of a Nobody 

Bristol: J. W. Arrowsmith/London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co. Limited, 1892. 


8vo., burnt-orange cloth blocked in blue and black to upper cover and spine, which is additionally lettered in gilt (publisher’s device gilt to foot); pp. [vii], vi-viii, [v], 14- 300, [ii, ads, stretching on to rear paste-down]; proliferated throughout with charming in-text and full page captioned illustrations by Weedon Grossmith; boards in very good condition, slightly scuffed to edges, with upper edge a little dust soiled; endpapers browned; a few light spots throughout, a couple of previous markings in pencil to prelims (3/6, etc.) but else very good, in far superior condition to those often found. Provenance: Bookseller sticker of E. S. Fowler to the gutter of the front paste-down. 


First edition thus, Volume XI in Arrowsmith’s Three & Sixpenny series, originally published in Punch from 1888-9. Complete with original ALS from one of the brothers. The letter, on Jordan Superfine headed notepaper (‘28 Dorset Square, N. W.’) is dated July 26th/93. Signed by George Grossmith, it reads: “Dear Sir, Thank you for your kind note and enclosure. In reply to your questions, I think the most acceptable of my contributions to amusing Literature is the book written in conjunction with my brother Weedon entitled “The Diary of a Nobody”. 


The Grossmith brothers both began their careers on stage, with George appearing in several Gilbert and Sullivan operas between 1877 and 1889. George was also a piano entertainer, and composed a large number of comic songs over the same period. Weedon, on the other hand, was an artist and illustrator, whose primary career was one of a portrait painter and comic actor. 


Fittingly comic in tone, the novel follows the life of a London Clerk, Charles Pooter, his wife Carrie, his son William Lupin, and various other characters over the course of 15 months. With the protagonist sometimes referred to as a Quixotian comic literary figure, the book received muted reviews upon publication but has since never been out of print, and influenced many writers throughout the 20th century, including J. B. Priestley, George Orwell, and Evelyn Waugh, the latter who claimed it to be “the funniest book in the world” and later used elements of Pooter’s character in his own early novels. 


A very fresh example. It is incredibly rare to find either of the Grossmith’s signatures anywhere, making this especially desirable.

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