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1601

3.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  206 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
A short risqué squib by Mark Twain, first published anonymously in 1880, and finally acknowledged by the author in 1906.

Written as an extract from the diary of one of Queen Elizabeth I's ladies-in-waiting, the pamphlet purports to record a conversation between Elizabeth and several famous writers of the day. The topics discussed are entirely scatological, notably farting a
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Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1880)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 383)
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Kevin
May 09, 2011 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sara
Nov 03, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I see the point Twain was trying to make, and I appreciate it exceedingly much and though it very funny, but... from the storytelling standpoint, it was way too rushed. It needed more pages, at least to facilitate the transitions between topics.

The introduction and endnotes that accompanied the Project Gutenberg version were fascinating, although I couldn't quite tell what era the were written in. They seemed pretty modern.

Edit: Reading some of the reviews on Goodreads, it absolutely amazes me t
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Dale
Oct 24, 2012 Dale rated it liked it
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
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Marina
Jun 13, 2015 Marina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I developed a huge crush on Sir Walter Raleigh when I was 16 after being seduced by his portrait in a book of Tudor history that I was reading. Dude was handsome as hell. Anyway, it was good to be reminded that Walter, Walter, Walter farts.
Tom Brashear
Mar 27, 2013 Tom Brashear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This proves that Mark Twain was the Mel Brooks of his Era. Think Blazing Saddles in the time of the Tudors.
Kevin
Feb 11, 2009 Kevin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A story about passing gas. Not so much.
Rita
Mar 07, 2013 Rita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Tettey
May 10, 2015 Tettey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Valerie
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
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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
Jenn
Sep 12, 2014 Jenn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2015 Robin Edman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You wouldn't expect to hear "great" and "fart book" in the same sentence unless you knew this book.
Kim
Mar 27, 2015 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a friend that says farts are always funny. Funny is relative I guess.
Nick
May 02, 2016 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Irreverent and brilliant. Mark Twain was a genius.
Ida Aasebøstøl
Nov 06, 2015 Ida Aasebøstøl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Filth for the sake of filth or filth for the sake of fun.
Amanda Kroeschel
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.
Maria
Oct 30, 2009 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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.
Darius
Dec 16, 2013 Darius rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2014 Onyango Makagutu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Edy
Jul 11, 2011 Edy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sunbonnetquilter
this was more of a short story and was absolutely hilarious,although it was also a bit raunchy for the time it was written.
Chelsea
Mar 26, 2011 Chelsea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Wow. I'm at a loss for words after reading this one. Clearly, Twain was not at a loss for words!
Gregory Rothbard
Fart Jokes and Sexual Jocularity by the man Mark Twain. Was this the original National Lampoons?
Ed
Aug 12, 2012 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth and farts. What more do you want?
Joel Ware
May 12, 2008 Joel Ware rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor-adult
Hilarious !

A total send-up of courtly manners and speech.
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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
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