978-1-85224-486-6 / 9781852244866

Archyology II: The Final Dig





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About the book:

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the humorist Don Marquis charmed New Yorkers with his whimsical newspaper column, which often featured the prose stylings of an opinionated cockroach named Archy. This final collection of Marquis's columns was edited by Jeff Adams, who found these gems in a long-lost trunk of the journalist's papers. Parts of that archive have already been published in the 1996 volume, Archyology: The Long Lost Tales of Archy and Mehitabel. Fans of Don Marquis, light verse, and talking vermin are likely to enjoy this book.

Archy writes by hurling himself headfirst toward the keys of a typewriter. In "archy comes out for simplified spelling," the little fellow recommends changes in standard English spelling and describes the physical hardships of his writing style:

in the small of my back theres a kink
and the rapid sukseshin of shocks
is putting my chin on the blink

In other columns, Archy makes wry observations about politics and American society. When he visits Washington, D.C., he worries that he might get tacked onto a piece of legislation because it seems like everything is being added to that particular bill. On another occasion, he gets caught up in a ticker-tape parade and is tossed around the streets of New York for two full hours.

The volume also contains several installments of The Great False Teeth Mystery, a serial novel about the international adventures of Archy and a bejeweled set of dentures. This picaresque parodies the conventions of serials but is less entertaining than Marquis's other work. Marquis is at his best when his sidekick Archy is in charge of the typewriter, giving us all a bug's-eye view of the universe. --Jill Marquis

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