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The Lives and Times of...
 
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Don Marquis
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The Lives and Times of Archy & Mehitabel

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  178 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Of all the literary genres, humor has the shortest shelf life--except for Archy and Mehitabel, that is. First published in 1916, it is a classic of American literature. Archy is a cockroach, inside whom resides the soul of a free-verse poet; he communicates with Don Marquis by leaping upon the keys of the columnist's typewriter. In poems of varying length, Archy pithily de...more
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Amereon House (first published 1916)
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Linda
if you have not read any of don marquiss
books written by archy the cockroach
you are missing a great deal in
your life archy is the reincarnated
soul of a vers libre poet
who discovered a piece
of paper in a journalists typewriter one night
and writes him a note thus began the long friendship between the two
archy has a friend
the moraless alley cat
mehitabel
who claims she is the reincarnation
of cleopatra her motto is toujour gai
as they live their lives in
new york city
archy comments archly on
social an...more
Jude
Well, first ya gotta buy the concept, which is not entirely new. And then, as coherant cockroaches go, i am personally more likely to re-read this one than that heartbroken one Kafka gave us. That's not a lit'ry assessment, mind you.
Deborah
Feb 24, 2008 Deborah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody with a sense of humor
I was excited to read this book after encountering E.B. White's introduction to it (in a collection of E.B. White's work), and still it managed to surpass my expectations.

The premise is that a cockroach is possessed by the transmigrated soul of a free verse poet named Archy, and Archy types poems every night in the office of a newspaper columnist (Don Marquis) by hopping and pounding each typewriter key with his head. Don Marquis first employed the Archy character in 1916. The column remained po...more
Ellen
Archy is a cockroach with the soul of a poet, and Mehitabel is an alley cat with a celebrated past who claims she was Cleopatra in a previous life. I first discovered Archy in a high school literature book. Having always been impressed with the cockroach who could type (but only using lower-case letters, of course) I was thrilled many years later to acquire not only one, but two editions that were published before World War II. These yard-sale finds are treasures for my book shelves, ranked with...more
Rob
When I was a little kid we had two frogs in a terrarium: a tree frog named Archy and a bullfrog named Mehitabel. I'd always wondered about their namesakes, and it's astonishing that I waited nearly four decades to explore further.

I really wanted to like Archy & Mehitabel. Anything with such a strong connection to my early childhood really ought to be liked. Also, it's such a perfect fit for me: weird poetry written by a Blatella germanica with illustrations by the immortal George Harriman (o...more
Valerie
One of the best gifts I got from my grandmother was a subscription to Children's Digest. Therein I made the acquaintance of people like Tintin, and Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats--and archy and mehitabel.

I won't say I always agreed with the sentiments expressed. There's a point where archy rebukes bridge players, because they put excessive effort into achieving nothing. As opposed to? What does he recommend as an alternative? I think of it as like the British king who is said to've tried t...more
Sue
This book is an old favorite. It begins with a beautiful introduction by E.B. White and leads into a hilarious account of a cockroach named Archy, the reincarnation of a free verse poet. He needs to throw himself onto the typewriter keys, head first, in order to communicate with Don Marquis (journalist/author). Other characters include Freddy the rat, a reincarnated poet, as well, and Mehitabel the cat, who believes she was once Cleopatra. This is a hoot and a half. Interesting factoid...these c...more
Richard
for some reason a copy of this was in my parents home forever though i don't think they ever read it and probably never knew it was there. i discovered it one day when i was in my late teens. i read it and loved it and eventually just took it when i left home because nobody else even knew it was there. i still have it. and i bought another copy with a dust jacket so now i own two.

this is a real classic of early 20th century newspaper columnar poetry. it's definitely worth looking into for anyone...more
Isaac

A lot to be had here. First of all, it's good poetry, for all its snide shots at vers libre -- second, it's very much of its era, providing a fascinating glimpse at urban life as it was in the early part of the 20th century -- third, it very much transcends its era, taking on themes of life, love, death, hope, and hopelessness, all from the perspective of a man (disguised here as a cockroach) who feels the world around him so hard that it's all he can do to live, day to day.

Illustrations by th...more
Johnny Trash
The premise here is simple. Don Marquis, the author, wrote a column for the Chicago Sun Times in the 1920s. archy is a cockroach who lived in the newsroom and claimed to be the reincarnation of a free verse poet. He typed on Marquis' typewriter by diving headfirst onto the keys. He wrote poems and stories and political rants. That basic introduction does not do justice to the wonderful world created in these collected columns.
Kimberly
Really FUN book from the 20's about a cockroach and a cat - both with the "souls of humans" who love to sing about alcohol.

There is definitely some social commentary, and its very funny. The whole book is written in prose. I believe its actually a collection of submissions to a paper or publication by Don Marquis.

I need to own this book. Its worth a second, and even third read!
Miranda
A typing cockroach and a cat; from the synopsis here: "Archy is a cockroach, inside whom resides the soul of a free-verse poet; he communicates with Don Marquis by leaping upon the keys of the columnist's typewriter. In poems of varying length, Archy pithily describes his wee world, the main fixture of which is Mehitabel, a devil-may-care alley cat."

Amazing.
Keith
The joyful adventures and ruminations of a small cockroach named Archie, who contains the transmigrated soul of a free verse poet. Includes Archie's reportage on the antics of Mehitabel the Cat, who may or may not have been Cleopatra in a previous life.

back a while back before WWII there were amusing things like this in the newspapers... can you imagine?
Wanda
Fun old skool humor. George Herriman's illustrations of Archy, the cockroach with the transmigrated soul of a vers libre poet, and Mehitabel, the alley cat with the morals of , well...an alley cat (what in ---- have I done to deserve all these kittens"), are priceless.
Stven
Undeniably this is classic stuff, but an anthology of three book-length collections of archy's typewriter-diving ruminations is too much to take at once. Every literate person should have some familiarity with archy and mehitabel. Some of it is brilliant, some of it is ordinary, and it's best waded through a little at a time. "Toujours gai," eh wot?
Paul
A series of experiences in verse written by a cockroach who is a vers libre poet for the newspaper. Original written as columns for the "Sun Dial" newspaper 1916-1935. Very pithy, tongue in cheek, philosophical collection. Provides a contemporary reflection of this period in U.S. history.

Great illustrations by George Herriman (Krazy Kat).
Leah
Dec 22, 2007 Leah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of whimsy and journalism
i searched the cote d'azur for this book after my father commented that i had typed him an email in the style of archy the cockroach--i loved that my dad (!) introduced me to a poet--a major role reversal for us. marquis is smart and endearing and completely insane. reminds me of a few people i know!
Summer
Oct 01, 2007 Summer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pinko commie humorists
A clever cockroach named Archy taps out his manifesto - in verse - on an adapted typewriter. He writes about humankind's foibles, the current and past lives of his friend Mehitabel the cat, and the coming insect revolution. A real beaut!
Emily
Archy types:

i have noticed
that when
chickens quit
quarrelling over their
food they often
find that there is
enough for all of them
i wonder if
it might not
be the same way
with the
human race
Alison
An often re-read favorite about a free verse poet transmigrated into a cockroach and the tempestuous cat who wonders what she did to deserve all these kittens.
Frances Sawaya
Fine to read a bit of Seamus Heaney during the week but I often return to the down-to-earth themes of this writer. Simply can't beat his realistic take on life.
Forvalka
Wry and cynical poems from depression era New York, composed by a cockroach and his ratty but ever-ladylike feline companion.
Dan
A classic of humor and social commentary from a free-verse poet cockroach's perspective. Timeless.
Bruce
Brilliant, touching satire on the human condition. One of the 20th Century's great humor classics.
Katherine
I have a first edition of this book. It makes me extremely happy.
Jo  Blakely
Genius. Marquis is ascerbic, funny, political, and prophetic.
Nancy
One of my favorite books ever
kubby
Dec 09, 2008 kubby is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to kubby by: dane
that's right!
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16197
Donald Robert Perry "Don" Marquis was a newspaper columnist as well as a playwright, novelist, and poet, best known for his "Archy and Mehitabel" free verse and his "Old Soak" anti-Prohibition play.
More about Don Marquis...
Archy and Mehitabel The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel Archyology : The Long Lost Tales of Archy and Mehitabel Archy's Life of Mehitabel Archyology II (the Final Dig): The Long Lost Tales of Archy and Mehitabel

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