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Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  466 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
A mention of flatulence might conjure up images of bratty high school boys or lowbrow comics. But one of the most eloquent—and least expected—commentators on the subject is Benjamin Franklin. The writings in Fart Proudly reveal the rogue who lived peaceably within the philosopher and statesman. Included are "The Letter to a Royal Academy"; "On Choosing a Mistress"; "Rules ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 31st 2003 by Frog Books (first published June 1st 2002)
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Rating details
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Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
This is why I asked David for Ben Franklin book recommendations. This is the kind of book I come up with on my own.

An okay collection of Franklin's writings, but I had seen about half of them in the second part of the last book I'd read, Autobiography and Other Writings. Did read a new piece "by" (Franklin writing in a pen name) the town gossip who tells an amusing story of why it's more fun to say negative things about other people than positive, and a piece sent to a Mathematician's Society ch
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: students of history; those with an appreciation of satire and irony; libertarians
Part way through these 38 writings of Ben Franklin, I thought, "It's a sad comment on our times that we have to market some of the best political commentary and satirical work an American has produced by labeling it as being about farting." I still think that... though, to be fair, the book's editor, Carl Japiske tries to bring it all full circle by including a final little essay of his own in which he envisions BF castigating modern Americans for having sacrificed to government intervention 90% ...more
King Ævil
Aug 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Collected here is a sampling of Benjamin Franklin's bawdy, satirical and subversive essays. Though the title emphasizes the first of these categories, the best work represented here is in Franklin's delightful, scathing criticism of the Crown's mismanagement of the American colonies—particularly in the "Edict of the King of Prussia," which elicited outrage from many Londoners who took the proclamation as genuine.

My delight with Franklin's scandalous side was soured, however, by the editor's epil
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Franklin's essays were interesting and amusing. Carl Japikse, the editor ruined the book by including that horrible essay at the end where he has a Revelatory dream about a conversation with Franklin, who tells him to spread the message of how America is giving up all her freedoms when he wakes up. The whole thing reads as a bunch of Tea Party talking points with "Franklin replied," and "Franklin said," added in. The last true Franklin essay expounds on his idea about why too much charity is bad ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it liked it
I really liked the first part of the book--Franklin's essays--and found them to be very timely. They made me laugh, and, interestingly, they could have been written for our time. That came through loudly, so I enjoyed the idea that political and social issues that existed more than two hundred years ago are still issues today. The idea made me think about what changes and what doesn't. Then, the editor had to add his own essay at the end, an essay about him meeting Franklin to discuss how Americ ...more
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A collection of stories, newspaper articles and letters written by the esteemed Mr. Franklin, which, as the subtitle indicates, are not likely to be included in school curriculums. The book opens with the quote, "He who lives on hope dies farting" which was published in Poor Richard's almanac in 1736. The other pieces run in a similar vein, with Franklin leaving his guise as diplomat, statesman, inventor and wise, respected philosopher behind--he gets downright bawdy at times, other times inciti ...more
Sep 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I picked up this book on a trip to Philly in an effort to make the founding fathers seem more human for my students... and after reading it, I think it actually might work. These essays, poems, and letters are great examples of Franklin's talents as a satirist and a wordsmith! I think there are several pieces I could use with my students in here- including the editors essay at the end which addresses what Franklin would say if he were to observe modern America.
Denise Lamonte
This is a very interesting book. I bought it because of the title. Turns out it contains "fake news" from one of our country's founding fathers. It also contains creative commentary on the economic, political and social milieu of the times. I think it would be very smart to use some of these essays in a US history course.
At the end of the book, the author/editor, Carl Japikse, shares a "dream" he had while reflecting on these essays. He meets Ben Franklin in heaven and gets an earful from this
Po Po
Sep 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Ahh, old timey snark of Ben Franklin.

This book is a compilation of essays, letters, articles and poems on a variety of topics ranging from farting to gossipmongers to prolific women to choosing an aged mistress to gun sundials to transporting rattle-snakes to Britain (as it is a "most suitable return for the human serpents sent to us by our Mother Country"-- referring to Britain's export of felons to the colonies).

My favorite essays are:

(1) Rules for Making Oneself A Disagreeable Companion. You
Oct 05, 2008 rated it liked it
I've become more interested in this time period of American history lately, and enjoyed the chance to read some actual essays by Benjamin Franklin. The book starts humorously, then switches to more of his revolutionary work. I found it interesting that most of his creative writings would end with a very concise and dumbed down summary to be sure that the reader wouldn't miss his point.

I confess, I was disappointed to finish the book and realize that the title, Fart Proudly, was a contribution of
Erin Lale
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The humorous and satirical short nonfiction of Ben Franklin is definitely a collection worth reading. Ignore the last part, titled The Dream, though. It's pure unverified personal gnosis. It's literally a dream of the collection's editor, in which he supposedly has a conversation with the ghost of Franklin; it's quite clear it's really the author's subconscious talking.

The parts that are actually by Franklin are fascinating, though. Some of it is really funny, and some of it is applicable to to
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Would have rated it higher had it been annotated or the entries otherwise given historical context other than what I remember from school.

Personal favorites are:
The satiric poems "Who's the Ass?" and "The Complaint".
"Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One" - in particular, the parts about taxation. This satiric advice to England very much applies to how our own modern government is alienating its people.
And "The Encouragement of Idleness" - which, again, has distinctly moder
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
A mediocre collection of some of Franklin's writings, some good, some not so good, topped off with a dreadful essay by the editor entitled "A Dream" that reads like something that would indeed cause a tea partier nocturnal emissions, but would cause Ben to roll over in his grave. The "F-word" is only used in one essay, and Franklin's more well-known musings on the opulence of flatulence are not included. Skip this one in favor of other, superior collections and editions.
May 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
What could have been a great book was really hampered by the pointless ramblings and odd choices of the editor. The Franklin pieces chosen for inclusion were not really tied together in any sort of subject matter or chronological order. Weird. The editor even ended the book with an article by himself that was almost twice as long as any of Franklin's! What a douche.
And the title comes not from a Franklin article, but from the editor quoting himself?! What the what?
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially history buffs.
This is a quick read that shows a whimsical yet almost ornery side of Franklin. It is not as humorous as I thought it might be but it does cause one to think a bit. That we are so fearful of offending people and/or their sensibilities that we have given back much of the freedom guaranteed by the constitution to the government. So much so, that we are afraid to fart in public, or fart proudly.
Aug 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book, but not as funny as I was expecting. There are a few amusing letters/essays, but overall it is more political satire than anything else. The last entry in this book is not by Franklin, but a "dream" the editor had in which Franklin spoke to him. It is interesting, yet I think it is just an opportunity for Japikse to voice his opinion on modern America.
Kim Ciniello
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In today's world Ben would have either been tutted away as an old crack-pot, or secretly assassinated by CIA. Maybe he'd be a critic for the New Yorker. Anyway, makes us "negative people" remember when it was OK to have an opinion not all "happy happy joy joy".

Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: American History Enthusiasts (maybe)
I didn't finish this book. I gave it the 20% litmus test and just couldn't finish it. Maybe it's just too hot for Revolutionary language style (we're having a heat wave). It just wasn't for me right now.
Donna Anoskey
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fun book, thought provoking and funny. The last item is an imagined conversation with Benjamin Franklin in a dream, and while it is not intended to match Mr. Franklin's excellent writing, it is in keeping with the humor of the other works. A great read, definitely worth it.
Apr 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
i include this for one essay only, recommended to me by my uncle at the age of 16, i believe. that essay is entitled "on choosing a mistress." hilarious read and an eye opener.

the other essays i have not read.
Jeff Shackelford
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Getting to read Franklin's little known writings was great. However, seeing the author add a "what would Franklin say" game at the end was disappointing.
The Carrion Librarian
This book was really witty and I enjoyed it a lot. It's even funnier if you know any of the history behind it. My favourite essay/story was "on picking a Mistress".
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
We need Ben Franklin's witty sarcasm today. His sun dial of cannons is a great example of governmental waste.
Brad Mcdowell
Jul 03, 2009 rated it liked it
A nice collection of Franklin's writings that is almost completely ruined by the editor's closing essay.
Feb 16, 2009 marked it as considering
Thanks, Trivial Pursuit!
Bricoleur  (David) Soul
A collection of writings by Benjamin Franklin that shows the bright mind and wit of this remarkable man.

Edward Sullivan
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
A book my father-in-law insisted I read.
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Interesting to a point but I found myself bored not very far in. The title is just about the best part of this book.
William  Shep
Wonderful selection of writings, many of them a bit off color, from Ben Franklin, a great Pennsylvania, great American, and citizen of the world.
Will Waller
Dec 20, 2010 rated it liked it
This one was humorous at parts--specifically that one might have advice on picking a mistress-- but fairly monotonous. Like most say, it's got a little too much of the Author's influence.
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Benjamin Franklin was a writer, a philosopher, a scientist, a politician, a patriot, a Founding Father, an inventor, and publisher. He helped with the founding of the United States of America and changed the world with his discoveries about electricity. His writings such as Poor Richards' Almanac have provided wisdom for 17 years to the colonies.
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“Fools make feasts and wise men eat them.” 73 likes
“Fart for freedom, fart for liberty—and fart proudly.” 39 likes
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