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S. J. Perelman (1904–1979)

Author of Most of the Most of S. J. Perelman

70+ Works 2,239 Members 34 Reviews 17 Favorited

About the Author

S. J. Perelman was a prolific humorist and satirist at the New Yorker for almost half a century. His contributions had a surrealistic quality in style and in subject that elicited from Dorothy Parker the judgment that he had "a disciplined eye and a wild mind" and "a magnificent disregard" for his show more reader. His raillery was aimed at popular fiction, motion pictures, advertising, and similar features of our transient culture. In his preferred form, a short drama, Perelman excelled in the unconventional, the concentrated, the sophisticated in humor. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by S. J. Perelman

Crazy Like a Fox (1947) 233 copies
The Last Laugh (1981) 177 copies
The Rising Gorge (1961) 128 copies
Westward Ha! (1948) 119 copies
Eastward Ha! (1977) 98 copies
Baby, It's Cold Inside (1961) 93 copies
Acres and Pains (1947) 84 copies
The Swiss Family Perelman (1950) 81 copies
Chicken Inspector No. 23 (1966) 73 copies
Vinegar Puss (1975) 63 copies
S. J. Perelman: Writings (2021) 59 copies
Monkey Business [1931 film] (1931) — Writer — 54 copies
Keep it crisp (1943) 32 copies
Listen to the Mocking Bird (1942) 32 copies
The Ill-tempered Clavichord (1952) 31 copies
One Touch of Venus (1944) 15 copies
Perelman's Home Companion (1955) 14 copies
The Dream Department (1943) 11 copies
Dawn Ginsbergh's Revenge (1929) 7 copies
Strictly from hunger (1937) 7 copies
Look Who's Talking! (1940) 6 copies
L'Oeil de l'idole (2011) 5 copies
Bite the Bullet (1957) 4 copies

Associated Works

The Best American Essays of the Century (2000) — Contributor — 773 copies
Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink (2007) — Contributor — 535 copies
Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker (2000) — Contributor — 354 copies
Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology (2004) — Contributor — 297 copies
The Best of Modern Humor (1983) — Contributor — 291 copies
Russell Baker's Book of American Humor (1993) — Contributor — 207 copies
Remarkable Names of Real People (1972) — Preface, some editions — 97 copies
Ten Great Musicals of the American Theatre (1973) — Contributor — 82 copies
The Best American Humorous Short Stories (1945) — Contributor — 82 copies
The Jewish Writer (1998) — Contributor — 52 copies
Reading for Pleasure (1957) — Contributor — 51 copies
The Bedside Tales: A Gay Collection (1945) — Contributor — 45 copies
A Treasury of American Humor (1996) — Contributor — 18 copies
Tall Short Stories (1960) — Contributor — 9 copies
World's Great Humorous Stories (1944) — Contributor — 9 copies
The Fireside Treasury of Modern Humor (1963) — Contributor — 5 copies
The Bathroom Reader (1946) — Contributor — 3 copies
Great Tales of the Far West (1956) — Contributor — 2 copies


20th century (52) American (56) American literature (99) anthology (385) biography (18) collection (68) comedy (39) cooking (22) dementia praecox (24) essay (21) essays (415) fiction (337) first edition (21) food (85) food writing (31) France (28) hardcover (23) humor (1,035) Library of America (54) literature (104) LOA (22) mystery (21) New York (42) New Yorker (111) non-fiction (220) own (19) Paris (36) Perelman (31) read (19) S.J. Perelman (53) sarcasm (30) satire (43) short stories (235) short story (28) stories (63) to-read (139) travel (55) unread (46) US (19) wit (43)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Perelman, S. J.
Legal name
Perelman, Sidney Joseph
Date of death
Burial location
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Place of death
New York, New York, USA
Places of residence
New York, New York, USA (death)
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Hollywood, California, USA
London, England, UK
Brooklyn, New York, USA (birth)
Brown University (BA|1924)
short story writer
West, Nathanael (brother-in-law)
Perelman, Laura (wife)
The New Yorker
Algonquin Round Table
Awards and honors
Academy Award for Best Screenplay (1956)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (1958)
Short biography
Sidney Joseph Perelman was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Providence. He entered Brown University in 1921 as a daily commuter. After leaving college, he worked as a cartoonist and later writer for Judge magazine and for College Humor magazine and in the early 1930s he went to Hollywood and worked as a script writer. He began writing for the New Yorker in 1934. In 1970, Perelman left the USA to live in London but returned to New York in 1972.



Stephen Leacock having stopped writing humour, Mr. Perelman stepped up to be the most celebrated American Humourist of his day. e was often amusing, and sometimes quite funny. this is the efficient way to absorb what you will of his scope, talents, and ambitions.
DinadansFriend | 6 other reviews | Nov 12, 2023 |
S.J. Perelman was an American humorist, best known for his short pieces in The New Yorker and for writing two of the best Marx Brothers films. This collection of New Yorker stories is not necessarily best read in large chunks (it's a massive collection), but rather as one takes appetizers. Perelman may have the best vocabulary of any American writer I've ever read. His turns of phrase are often brilliant and made more so by the astonishing range of words with which he turns those phrases. The pieces are largely divided into two kinds: those in which an event or a news item or such has caught his attention and he spins off a scenario or readers' theatre script satirizing its foibles, and those in which he recounts adventures from his own life. All of these are wonderfully amusing, but the real laughs I found to reside almost always in his tales of his own experiences. Included is a portion of Westward Ha!, a hilarious tellling of his 'round-the-world trip with Broadway caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, and if the entire 600 pages of this book had been devoted to that trip, I would have been delighted. Also of particular interest are a couple of pieces relating to his friendship with Groucho Marx. It's no wonder that Perelman wrote so well for the Marxes, as his somewhat surreal sense of humor is a great match for theirs. Perelman is for comic writing, as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler are for hardboiled stories, one of the great purveyors of a kind of language that doesn't exist anymore except in parody or homage, an ironic, witty, and utterly of-its-time style that defies (for me at least) explanation or precise definition, but which is the soul of American letters in the 1920s and '30s.… (more)
jumblejim | 6 other reviews | Aug 26, 2023 |
I would have given it 0 stars if I could.
galuf84 | 2 other reviews | Jul 27, 2022 |



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