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Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
Pages: 188
Publication Date: November 30, 2004

Nonsense Novels

by Stephen Leacock, introduction by Daniel Handler

$13.56 $16.95


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.

Read a chapter, “A Hero in Homespun,” a heartwarming tale of a country lad with big dreams who moves to New York City and ends up burning it to the ground.


Stephen Leacock was a genius. Yes; genius. Critics are hesitant about using this word, but if it means a capacity for imaginative creation so extraordinary as sometimes to rise above what can be produced by the conscious exertion of an unusually gifted man, that was what Leacock had. If, in the realm of writing, it means individuality so striking as to provoke the admiration, envy and imitation of men themselves finely gifted...certainly Leacock had genius.
— Robertson Davies

It is an understatement to regard Leacock purely as a funmaker. The often veiled satire of his nonsense reveals a sound philosophy. He is a keen critic who, like Lewis Carroll, wraps his deeper meaning in a mantle of mirth.
The New York Times