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1601 by Mark Twain
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8 ratings, 1 review

Twain's book titled Conversation, as it was the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors, or simply 1601, was written as an excerpt of the diary of one of Queen Elizabeth's handmaidens. According to Edward Wagenknecht it was "the most famous piece of pornography in American literature," but that's arguable considering its limited distribution. In fact it contains more shock humor than pornography, and its characters, Queen Elizabeth I, Ben Jonson, Beaumont, Shakespeare, the Duchess of Bilgewater, and Sir Walter Raleigh basically just sit around and crack fart and penis jokes.

Twain wrote 1601 between Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn while he was experiencing "writer's block." When he showed it to some friends they loved it and had it secretly published in 1880. You couldn't even really read it except in secret rare book rooms in the bowels of university libraries until the 1960s, when the landmark pornography cases that legalized the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer, and Fanny Hill were decided. 1601 is somewhat funny - and if you love Twain it's a must read.

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Samuel Riddle

November 26, 2013

Absolutely hilarious. The old spelling is hard to decipher but well worth it. A must for any comedy lover.