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The best of humour

[Obituaries] [Political humour] [Special awards] [Comics] [PG Wodehouse]

What is good humour and what is not, is a matter of personal inclination. Let me still tip you off about some literary works that I find humorous.

A favourite handbook is The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations, filled to the brim with witty quotations on any subject for any occasion.


Obituaries may not be the obvious choice for a humour page, but let me explain. Taking a course in English some years ago, I decided to find some English newspaper to read in order to get a feeling for modern news language. By sheer luck, I found a copy of "The Weekly Telegraph", the expatriate weekly edition of The Telegraph. It was here I found myself reading the obituaries page, enjoying myself. The obituaries were written with respect, but still showing not solely the good side of people - their weaknesses and eccentricities were also well covered. I later found a number of collection of the best obituaries from The Daily Telegraph, and have enjoyed them immensely.

Political humour

Politics may also not be an obvious choice for humourous literature, but some of us remember the series Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister as highlights of television humour.

Special Awards

Among the less serious awards, we find the Darwin Awards for those who have made themselves a name by finding really stupid ways of killing themselves; and the Ig Noble awards for scientific endeavours best forgotten and never reproduced.


Comics may not seem a serious kind of reading, but in my (humble?) opinion, good comics are serious reading. And, anyhow, they are fun!

PG Wodehouse

is a paragon of British literary humour. His innumerable books, set in the upper classes with their stiff upper lips, are timeless masterpieces. Here he presents - among others - the archetypical manservant Jeeves and his master Bertie Wooster. Wooster has brains that doesn't match his fortune, so he spends most of his time in the Drone Club or visiting relatives - and escaping would-be mothers-in-laws and their daughters. Wodehouse also created Blandings Castle and its lot. (According to The Telegraph, Blandings Castle has now been located.)

Books, videos etc. by Wodehouse, or based on his books.


This page was last updated on 05.02.2005.




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