The Oxford Book of Comic Verse

The Oxford Book of Comic Verse

3.82 (34 ratings by Goodreads)
Edited by 

List price: US$15.96

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


From Geoffrey Chaucer to G. K. Chesterton, Augustan satire to advertising jingles, John Updike to Vikram Seth and Victoria Wood, comic verse, has in its many forms, kept us amused for centuries. This superb anthology, notable above all for its breadth, reflects the international scope of humour by bringing together poets from far beyond the British Isles. Drawing on many different types of verse - epigrams, street ballads, clerihews, music-hall lyrics, and the double-dactyl - it offers an exceptionally wide range of comic pleasures. The poems are by turns subtle, down-to-earth, macabre, ingenious, acerbic, ribald and cheerful; written to amuse, they call forth laughter and delight in equal measure. This book is intended for buyers of poetry, anthologies, humorous more

Product details

  • Paperback | 546 pages
  • 130 x 192 x 36mm | 381.02g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0192832077
  • 9780192832078

Review quote

"Gross sets forth his principles in an introduction so carefully worded that it is hard to quarrel with him."--Parnassus"A delightful collection of poetry written to amuse."--The Houston Postshow more

Review Text

Comic verse's first function, according to the introduction to this enjoyable anthology, is 'to amuse'. One neighbour is Satire, which is allowed in only when it's Elizabethan (the editor, belying his name, left 'Eskimo Nell' out in the cold). He provides a rich, chronologically arranged collection of 550 poems from Chaucer to Victoria Wood, all from writers in the English language, including a rightly substantial American team. Readers will greet their favourite Thomas Hood, Ogden Nash and Gavin Ewart, and will bemoan the absence of Hood the Younger, Spike Milligan and Michael Rosen. Contemporary poets get fair space but this is, despite its musical hall (Is 'The Mountains of Mourne' really comic verse?) and musical comedy lyrics, a literary rather than a 'popular' anthology. One disadvantage is that a number of first-team players, Shakespeare, Dr Johnson and Blake, make guest appearances for a bit of knockabout, limiting the selection of those professionals, the serious comic poets. (Kirkus UK)show more

About John Gross

About the Editor: John Gross is the theater critic for the London Sunday Times. A former book critic for The New York Times, he is the author and editor of many books, including The Oxford Book of more

Rating details

34 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 24% (8)
4 44% (15)
3 26% (9)
2 3% (1)
1 3% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X