Read Somebody Else’s Diary

If you’ve heard of but never actually stuck your nose into the episodic piece of comedy genius that is The Diary of a Nobody, then now is the time. Wdiaryofanobodye are serialising George and Weedon Grossmith’s comic classic, and in so doing harking back to its original format – it first appeared in instalments in Punch magazine. Forever cropping up on the-best-100-novel lists, The Diary of a Nobody will make you laugh, cringe and then laugh some more at the neurotic considerations of the inimitable Charles Pooter.

Pooter walks the streets of a familiar yet bygone London; his home patch, Holloway, which is considered fairly central these days, was then regarded as a suburban outpost of London. Walks are taken, parties are thrown, home improvements are made, grudges are formed and injustices are bemoaned – all described in the simmering prose of the Grossmiths, whose razor-sharp wit bubbles away just below the surface of the text.

As is the case with many now classic authors, the Grossmith brothers’ first foray into the world of literature was a rocky one. When the Diary appeared in Punch, memoirs and diaries of the like were ten a penny in the popular press. The largely indifferent public was treated to one dose of Pooter every week, which they deemed more than enough.

Squeezed between a letter to W.G. Grace, an illustration of a ‘baromètre politique’ and Mr Derby’s Great Derby Cryptogram, the Diary takes up less than half a page of Punch’s 1888 June edition. In fact, it was not until the third edition of the extended text appeared in book form in 1910 – 22 years after it was first serialised – that the public and critics came around to the genius of Mr. Pooter. Since then it has become a cult classic.

Read it in its reserialised glory with us, and join the legions of Charles Pooter fans.

The serialisation begins 10 April. Sign up for free here.

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