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The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith

The Diary of a Nobody (1892)

by George Grossmith, Weedon Grossmith (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,726753,586 (3.71)1 / 306
`Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see - because I do not happen to be a `Somebody' - why my diary should not be interesting.'The Diary of a Nobody (1892) created a cultural icon, an English archetype. Anxious, accident-prone, occasionally waspish, Charles Pooter has come to be seen as the epitome of English suburban life. His diary chronicles encounters with difficult tradesmen, the delights of home improvements, smallparties, minor embarrassments, and problems with his troublesome son. The suburban world he inhabits is hilariously and painfully familiar in its small-mindedness and its essential decency. Both celebration and critique, The Diary of a Nobody has often been imitated, but never bettered. This editionfeatures Weedon Grossmith's hilarious illustrations and is complemented by an enjoyable introduction discussing the book's social background and suburban fiction as a genre.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
A comic fictional diary with charming illustrations featuring a vain and petty protagonist diarist's home and social life in just over a year in late 19th century England. Gaffes and pretensions run rife in the text and the subtext. This is a light meal with hidden depths, fulfilling my love of the super mundanities and slow pace of everyday life. ( )
  kitzyl | Mar 16, 2020 |
Diary of a Nobody was written by two brothers, George and Weedon Grossmith. It is Victorian England in the late 1880s. Charles Pooter has decided to share his everyday life as recorded in his diary.

It starts with the Pooter’s move to their newest residence at The Laurels in Brickford Terrace. Charles Pooter is married to Carrie and they have a son, 20-year-old William Lupin. Pooter is a City of London clerk at Perkkups. Carrie runs the household. William is a bank clerk. There are also other characters that appear in his comments.

Pooter is a bit of a snobbish and proper man, with set ideas and an image of himself. His recounting of events shows that he doesn’t always come out on top of what happens. Perhaps his standards and expectations are a little too high?

When Pooter and his wife are invited to the Mayor’s Mansion House for a formal social event, they find that it is a gathering more of local trade and business people and not the upper echelon of people he was expecting. His disappointment, and Carrie’s, is made worse when he falls on the dance floor, taking Carrie with him, due to a little too much champagne.

Another instance of things not going as it should is when his son moves back home. It seems that the son was let go due to his laziness on the job. Also the son has decided to go by his middle name, Lupin, rather than William. Pooter is now concerned with finding Lupin another job and Lupin is not the least bit worried.

I did some research on the book and found that it has never been out of print! It was initially published in Punch as a serial in 26 installments. It was added to a published in book form in the 1890s. It wasn’t a sell-out, but over time it has been available and still is!

It was interesting to get a glimpse of Victorian life and writing style. Something I enjoy is reading books from various eras. This was good and entertaining! ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Mar 15, 2020 |
"Some people seem quite destitute a sense of Humour."

The Diary of a Nobody was originally intended as a spoof against all the diaries that were being published and serialised at the time of writing yet today in the age of Blogs, Facebook and Twitter, where celebrity status can be gained seemingly without an awful lot of talent, it seems even more relevant.

The book centres around Charlie Pooter (the Nobody), his wife Carrie and their son Lupin. Charlie Pooter is a City clerk who lives with his wife in Holloway. Their son Willie initially works for a bank in Oldham but early in the diary returns home after being dismissed announcing that he wants to be known by his middle name Lupin henceforth. Lupin is a chancer and everything that his father isn't.

Mr Pooter has a strong sense of his own worth yet every-time he finds himself in a position that might work to his advantage some social gaffe means he misses out on the opportunity. The Pooters’ life is therefore made up of small pleasures and modest social occasions, many of which end embarrassingly and usually also involve his close friends Mr Gowings and Mr Cummings. Yet despite it all he ultimately triumphs.

Sadly the world of Charles Pooter, a world of simple pleasures and of lifelong loyalty to one employer, has long disappeared yet there will probably be opportunities for people like Lupin. Yet it could be argued that the literary influence of this book, (Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones for example) can still be seen today. In fact many of the embarrassing misunderstandings that afflict Mr Pooter are directly reflected in these much later characters and afore mentioned Bloggers etc.

When Mr Pooter tells Carrie and Lupin that, “I was in hopes that, if anything ever happened to me, the diary would be an endless source of pleasure to you both; to say nothing of the chance of the remuneration which may accrue from its being published”, both “burst out laughing”. But by way of an apology Carrie states; "I did not mean to be rude, dear Charlie; but truly I do not think your diary would sufficiently interest the public to be taken up by a publisher."

There is a brief preview before each chapter which gives a tantalising outline of what is to follow without giving away too much detail. This is not a book that will make you laugh out loud, rather it has a gentle absurdity about it. I ended up feeling a great empathy for staid old Charlie hoping that his loyalty and sense of duty would ultimately prevail, as such I felt that the author's writing style set exactly the right tone. It is a book that has withstood the test of time, one that you read with a smile on your face and as such it deserves to be regarded as a classic. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Oct 29, 2018 |
It was a fairly quick read. It was funny too, I'll admit that. Not laugh out loud funny, but kind of sitcom-like, if it were a sitcom based in 1892! In fact, the date thing is funny, as what struck me most was that even though the book is 114 years old, it still feels...well, not modern, but not as dated as you'd expect. It was a pleasant enough read. Not really my thing, but it was interesting to read outside of my comfort zone. ( )
  SadieBabie | Jun 23, 2018 |
The Diary of a Nobody written by George Grossmith and illustrated by his brother Weedon Grossmith is an English comic novel that was first published as a serial in Punch magazine in 1888-89 and then presented in book form in 1892. The book is written as the diary that records the daily lives of a London clerk, Charles Pooter, his wife Carrie, his son Lupin and many of his friends and acquaintances over a 15 month period has become a true classic and is still in print today.

Much of the humor in this book is developed from the Pooter’s attempt to rise above their middle class life and the social humiliations that this resulted in. Charles Pooter’s pretensions and petty concerns become a wry satire on middle class aspirations that often sees the reader chuckling and wincing at the same time.

The Diary of a Nobody is a quick and amusing read that is quaint and funny yet also gives us a glimpse into the past and a way of life that has for the most part disappeared. Even though the book is more than a century old, many will recognize the timeless character of Pooter from their own social circle or even from gazing into the mirror. ( )
3 vote DeltaQueen50 | Feb 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grossmith, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grossmith, WeedonIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Glinert, EdIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Irwin, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarvis, MartinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palmer, GeoffreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Remes, Maija-LeenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Squire, J. C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, William EmrysEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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originally appeared in Punch
and is re-published by permission of the publishers
Messrs Bradbury and Agnew
The Diary has been since considerably added to
The excellent title was suggested
by our mutual friend
to whom we have
the great pleasure of dedicating this volume
London, June, 1892
First words
My dear wife Carrie and I have just been a week in our new house, "The Laurels," Brickfield Terrace, Holloway -- a nice six-roomed residence, not counting basement, with a front breakfast-parlour.
He may wear what he likes in the future, for I shall never drive with him again. His conduct was shocking. When we passed Highgate Archway, he tried to pass everything and everybody. He shouted to respectable people who were walking quietly in the road to get out of the way; he flicked at the horse of an old man who was riding, causing it to rear; and, as I had to ride backwards, I was compelled to face a gang of roughs in a donkey-cart, whom Lupin had chaffed, and who turned and followed us for nearly a mile, bellowing, indulging in coarse jokes and laughter, to say nothing of occasionally pelting us with orange-peel.
"It was mentioned in the Bicycle News."
I told Sarah not to bring up the blanc-mange again for breakfast. It seems to have been placed on our table at every meal since Wednesday… In spite of my instructions, that blanc-mange was brought up again for supper. To make matters worse, there had been an attempt to disguise it, by placing it in a glass dish with jam round it...I told Carrie, when we were alone, if that blanc-mange were placed on the table again I should walk out of the house.
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Average: (3.71)
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140437320, 0241956862

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