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Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  196 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Of the many books by Canada’s most celebrated humorist, none has received more acclaim than his brilliant, caustic treatment of the glittering rich who gather at the Mausoleum Club on Plutoria Avenue.

Today, Leacock’s pointed satire of the privileged class, and their social abuses and pretences, retains every ounce of its freshness and bite. An undisputed comic masterpiece,
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by New Canadian Library (first published 1914)
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A couple months ago, I went to a talk on the accuracy of university admissions tests given by a visiting professor from Great Britain. The speaker concluded that, with globalization, these tests are becoming less and less accurate, which will lead to ruined lives. I asked whether this conclusion also applied to North America, where there is a safety system of (community) colleges. For those not in the know, community colleges are called 'college' in Canada. People go to 'college' or 'university. ...more
Carly Svamvour
December 6th, 2k13 - finished

Hilarious! Yet when you actually think of it, not so funny, really. A perfect example of just how corrupt government, driven by the wheels of the rich and powerful can be.

What amazes me when I read/listen to these old stories is just how identical the situations are to today's political climate.


After reading Sketches of a Small Town, I am led to listen to this story, which LivraVox is kind enough to provide in audio.

I'm enjoying this writer's w
Sep 06, 2014 Colin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Leacock isn't tremendously well-known these days, or at least not in the UK, but I have a lot of his books, picked up from a second-hand shop in Eastbourne, all different colours and degrees of batteredness, and I love them. This one is about the excesses of the wealthy elites in the 1910's and although on the surface it's his usual gentle, deadpan, naive humour, it's far more biting and even political than anything else I've ever read by him. The other thing that really stands out is ho ...more
Pop Bop
Apr 27, 2016 Pop Bop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Published in 1914; Fresh and Pertinent Today

It's really very simple. Take the feel of P.G. Wodehouse. Add an ironic approach to business and finance that rivals A.P. Herbert's treament of the practice of law. Then add a bemused and generous, but razor sharp and always alert, sensibility that fondly but unflinchingly mocks the society and the business and investment practices of wealthy urbanites in 1910-ish America. What you get is this book. This is a remarkable find among the public domain Kin
Harry Rutherford
I found the project Gutenberg version of this on my kindle. I don't remember downloading it, but I must have seen it recommended somewhere, I guess. A satirical portrait of the lives of American plutocrats from 1914, written by a Canadian. It has aged surprisingly well; it reads a bit like a slightly more venomous PG Wodehouse.
Richard Gallagher
Great satire! As relevant today as when it was written
Rachel Humphrey
Jan 05, 2017 Rachel Humphrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arcadian Adventures With the Idle Rich by Stephen Leacock

Stephen Leacock joined together tales from the lives of those who gather at the Mausoleum Club with the edge of his satirical knife. The book mocks and chastises the financial and business pursuits of these characters through careful observation and pointed tone. There are short dialogues intertwined with artistically painted trips across the city to view the habitat of these characters.

Excerpt from Chapter One :

"I understand he is--" Mr
Czarny Pies
Sep 27, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English and French Canadians
Recommended to Czarny by: My mother
Stephen Leacock is the Canadian writer who most accurately Canadian rural and urban society for the period running from the Boer war to the beginning of World War II. He was an economics professor at McGill university who had absolutely no aspirations to be a great writer. He wrote funny short stories because he loved humour and wanted to make people laugh. Nonetheless his work was greater than the writer's ambitions. This slim volume is the best work we will ever have on the attitudes and mores ...more
Nov 21, 2008 Vivienne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: social commentary fans and economists
Recommended to Vivienne by: Miss French
Surprisingly relevant for a book close to 100 years old. Mining scandals, stock market mayhem, business strategists taking over areas they have no business getting into (haha), etc. Also a nice reminder people with greater than average money aren't necessarily those with greater than average intellects.

Reminded me of Edith Wharton and Candace Bushnell in the writing style and theme. The authors are all obviously well entrenched in the "scene" while they somewhat self-conciously critize others f
Jan 11, 2008 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canlit
A classic Canadian satire, written in 1914, follows the oh-so-awful trials
and tribulations of the "idle rich" of the title who gather at the Mausoleum
Club on Plutoria Avenue. Brilliant at first, mediocre by the middle, boring
at the end. Favourite quote: "It was indeed a singularly trying time of
the year. It was too early to go to Europe, and too late to go to Bermuda.
It was too warm to go south, and yet still too cold to go north. In fact,
one was almost compelled to stay at home -- which was dre
A tongue in cheek look at the upper echelons of society in nineteen-teens America, Stephen Leacock writes a very humorous book in "Arcadian Adventures". On the one hand I really enjoyed it, on the other hand it seemed like there's quite a bit of realism in it still resonant today (especially in his final 'political' chapter). This is the second book by Leacock I've read and I will keep reading more. Love his style and his subjects.
Jun 11, 2007 karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: CanLit fans
I thought this book was pretty amusing. It was a silly satire about the idle rich. I found it quite funny that the book rings true in 2007 - even though this book was written in 1914! The idle rich are still up to their same old antics, as evidenced in the media, tabloids, on reality tv shows about the rich, etc.
Hal Brodsky
Aug 23, 2016 Hal Brodsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, kindle
Well written, funny book of biting satire, much of which sadly rings true today, especially the last chapter which is about wealthy people deciding to take over a local government. The middle chapters were particularly well done.
Aug 14, 2014 Mcke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find it very funny.
The way it's written accentuates the ridiculous seriousness in which the "higher society" characters take themselves.
Full of hypocrisy, greed and plain stupidity it gives a good giggle to anybody who has lived in the lower or middle classes.
Feb 06, 2016 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A humorous caricature of the rich in society. A great piece of Canadiana humour. Well worth the read.
May 04, 2015 Maddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donated-to-a-lfl
Really enjoyed this - Leacock does not pull his punches about who's in power in 1920s fake-New-York.
I took an amazing course on looking at Canada's history through a literary lens. We had to read one book per week. This was probably the semester that I read the most books!
Jun 11, 2013 Opa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
written in 1914 - reads as if yesterday. Leacock's great satire had me laughing and chuckling the whole way through.
Jim Gullo
Jim Gullo rated it really liked it
Oct 14, 2015
Dean Duncan
Dean Duncan rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2012
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Mar 27, 2012
Burkhard rated it it was ok
Apr 16, 2010
Antoine rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2008
Apr 19, 2015 Jacob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best humour books I've ever read. Whip-smart satire that rings particularly true today.
Mike rated it really liked it
Jun 14, 2012
Jeremy Hancock
Jeremy Hancock rated it it was amazing
Aug 17, 2015
Fischwife rated it it was amazing
Sep 10, 2011
Michelle rated it it was amazing
Aug 26, 2012
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Mar 09, 2008
Big_bill rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2016
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