Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “1601” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  160 ratings  ·  32 reviews
s/t: A Conversation as it was at the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1880)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about 1601, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about 1601

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 295)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Not /just/ another book on farting in the 17th century. This is the most carefully prepared satirical piece on the topic of royal flatulence that I have yet to encounter (seems like everyone's doing some work in this area these days, doesn't it?).

Mark Twain details the dialogue of a hypothetical dinner party and their search to discover the originator of an "entrail originating foul fog." In a way, it's like the first Mystery Dinner Theatre. Colorful metaphors are abound, and a lack of analogie
The commentary is actually more interesting than this Twain story

Literary critic Edward Wagenknecht called 1601 "the most famous piece of pornography in American literature."

Just to be clear, it's not really pornography, at least not by modern standards. Rather, it's a short story featuring Queen Elizabeth I, Ben Jonson, Beaumont, Shakespeare, the Duchess of Bilgewater, Sir Walter Raleigh and a few other people all in a closet talking about passing gas and sex.

Sound strange?

Well, it is and
A story about passing gas. Not so much.
Since discovering the availability of free downloads of classic literature, I've returned to the writings of some of my favorite authors. My previous experience with the writings of Mark Twain were limited to "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer". I am now enjoying exploring the diversity and depth of MT's adventues in writing! This particular short story is bawdy, and explicibly "naughty", in its' chararacterization of Queen Elizabeth and her court, as they spend an evening discussi ...more
don't you just know that evolution is a lie every time you come across the natural beauty of a miraculous performance of flatulence?

if evolution made any sense why would it set two essentials of social animals, communication and feeding, against each other?

how often has the development of a child's communication skills not been hampered by being told to be quiet at the dinner table.

and all because we talk by passing wind out of the wrong hole.

imagine the possibilities!
My uncle obtained a bootleg copy of this in the 1950s or thereabouts, when it still couldn't be published openly. Nice to see that things have changed enough that it's now published openly.

In his Anatomy of Swearing, Ashley Montagu points out that Elizabethan ribaldy was rapidly eviscerated during Puritan times in England, and that, despite a few attempts at revival (notably during the Restoration period), it hasn't really recovered since.

This book represents Twain's attempt to resuscitate the o
Thom Swennes
1601 is not what I expected! It is as oddly non-Twain as one could imagine. That is probably why I gave it three stars. This year I have vowed to read Mark Twain’s entire works so when I came across this little known publication, I couldn’t let it go unread. This short story isn’t short on the crude and vulgar (this, in itself, is so un-nineteenth century) and I know why his other works have overshadowed it. Still, in retrospect, I found it a fresh change and not entirely without merit. If you h ...more
I want to like this, I want to find the deeper meaning and feel smart about it... but nope... just a short story about farting and sex.
Robin Edman
You wouldn't expect to hear "great" and "fart book" in the same sentence unless you knew this book.
I have a friend that says farts are always funny. Funny is relative I guess.
The introduction with the history and background information was more interesting to me than 1601 itself, tho' it was amusing.
Kitty Tomlinson
Quick sketch by Twain while suffering writer's block puts together the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I, Ben Jonson, Beaumont, Shakespeare, etc., in a closet talking about flatulence and sex. Funny, especially considering the wide range of characters present and the historical context.
Although this is a great example of bawdy Elizabethan repartee with a good dollop of Twain humor, the subject matter wasn't exactly something I could enjoy. Still, it was just a short story. If it had been longer, it might have moved on to more interesting subjects.
Mark Twain trying to scandalize with farts and cunts. The entire piece consists of s single scene with raunchy dialogue and little point. I can understand its appeal ina different time, but its only of "historical" interest now.
Onyango Makagutu
Hilarious, totally hilarious!
William Durkee
I was expecting witty rapport. I got an amusing, but explicit, not-for-dinnertime conversation. I recommend it for anyone wanting to read an unexpected contribution to literature by Mark Twain.
Nathan Langford
We thought George Carlin was irreverent with such things as the '7 words...'. How about Mark Twain having the high-minded Tudor-age royalty in a discussion about who farted!
Synthia Green
I laughed out loud twice (that's it). I recognized examples of alliteration but can't say there's much of anything else that makes this worth reading. ...more
The subject of this short story is flatulence in the Elizabethan court and is presented in such a funny way. I laughed and laughed as I read this.
this was more of a short story and was absolutely hilarious,although it was also a bit raunchy for the time it was written.
Wow. I'm at a loss for words after reading this one. Clearly, Twain was not at a loss for words!
Tom Brashear
This proves that Mark Twain was the Mel Brooks of his Era. Think Blazing Saddles in the time of the Tudors.
Gregory Rothbard
Fart Jokes and Sexual Jocularity by the man Mark Twain. Was this the original National Lampoons?
Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth and farts. What more do you want?
Joel Ware
Hilarious !

A total send-up of courtly manners and speech.
Introduction was as interesting as the story.
I didn't know Twain could be so crass.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fantastic Fables
  • Knickerbocker's History of New York (Dodo Press)
  • The Chronicles of Clovis
  •  Celebrated Crimes
  • A House-Boat on the Styx
  • Kew Gardens
  • Miss Mapp (Lucia, #2)
  • Mardi and a Voyage Thither
  • Ann Veronica
  • The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu
  • Mr. Midshipman Easy
  • The Book of Werewolves
  • Red Nails
  • Caesar and Cleopatra
  • A House of Pomegranates
  • The Tell-Tale Heart & Other Writings (Bantam Classics)
  • The Ancient City: A Study of the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome
  • Ring of Bone: Collected Poems, 1950-1971
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work
More about Mark Twain...
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Tom Sawyer The Prince and the Pauper A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »