|The contemporary Dell paperback (the|
edition I read) w/Chas. Addams cover.
Likewise, as I recall some of the less successful humorous novels of the past decades, sometimes the invention or motivation simply flags, and one is left with the mildly amusing (Art Buchwald's Irving's Delight was meant to be as scathing of the advertising and, in another odd kinship with the Waugh, the pet food industries and related matters as the Waugh was in its compass, but Buchwald was rarely too prone to go for the jugular, hence probably both the popularity of his column and the obscurity most of his work, very much including this novel, has fallen into since his death; Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth had far less restraint, and so their The Space Merchants has at least a good-sized if infrequently-heard-from cult following, and such similar work from them as Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" can be utterly plagiarized for other cult-followed items as the Mike Judge film Idiocracy). It's not as if the models for the likes of Buchwald or Erma Bombeck weren't at times at least as outraged or at least as amused as Waugh...think of Jean Kerr's parody of Mike Hammer (and of the Dramatic Reading) collected in her breakthrough volume Please Don't Eat the Daisies (though, sadly, her corrosive mockery there isn't what she's remembered for), or Robert Benchley at his most enervated.
Ah, well. I'll have more (and probably better) to say about a number of these and perhaps some more over the next several weeks (I really should be talking about Bruce Jay Friedman here, if not also the Angry Young Men and Heller and Thurber and Ms. Parker and Twain...). And I see Bill Crider was inspired by an old review of mine to look up Nelson Algren's anthology...I'm honored. Better essays and reviews by Bill and others are linkable at Patti Abbott's blog today...
|The Library of America version.|