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The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel (Penguin Classics)


The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel (Penguin Classics) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Generations of readers have delighted in the work of the great American humorist Don Marquis, who was frequently compared to Mark Twain. These free-verse poems, which first appeared in Marquis's New York newspaper columns, revolve around the escapades of Archy, the philosophical cockroach who was once a poet, and Mehitabel, a streetwise alley cat who was once Cleopatra. Reincarnated as the lowest creatures on the social scale, they prowl the rowdy streets of New York City in between the world wars. The antics of these two immortal characters are now made available for the first time in their original order of publication in this unique, comprehensive collection, which features many poems never before reprinted.

  • First time in Penguin Classics
  • Archy and Mehitabel is considered the inspiration for E.B. White's Charlotte's Web
  • Features many new poems never reprinted since they were first published early in the twentieth century
  • Introduction places Marquis in the context of American humor and the history of satire

About the Author

Don Marquis (1878–1937) was a newspaper columnist, poet, novelist, dramatist, and popular author.

Michael Sims is the author most recently of In the Womb: Animals (adapted from two National Geographic Channel documentaries); he is also the author of Apollo's Fire: A Journey through the Extraordinary Wonders of an Ordinary Day, which NPR chose as one of the best science books of 2007; Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Library Journal Best Science Book; and Darwin's Orchestra: An Almanac of Nature in History and the Arts. For Penguin Classics he also edited The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel and Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Thief, and he is currently editing The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime. He has written for many periodicals, from the Washington Post to New Statesman.

Table of Contents

The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel Introduction by Michael Sims

Suggestions for Further Reading

A Note on the Text

The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel


Expression Is the Need

Just Cockroaches

Something to Say

Simplified Spelling


Freddy Is No More

Up or Down the Scale

Raise in Salary

An Easy Mark

Grind Down the Laboring Man

Just for This, You Go in Agate, Archy

Desk All Cleaned Up


Why Not Commit Suicide

Writing All By Itself

We Rushed Forward and Swatted

My Naked Soul

On My Recent Demise

Ballade of the Under Side


Back to the Starting Point

Lightning Bug

The Next Line

Be Beautiful


The Queens I Have Been

Unpunctuated Gink

Butting These Keys with My Head

Drunken Hornet

Cheer Up Cheer Up

White Powder

My Ultimatum

Swiss Cheese


Suicide Club, Part 1

Suicide Club, Part 2

Suicide Club, Part 3

Suicide Club, Part 4

Suicide Club, Part 5

Killing Off the Sparrows

My Last Name

Where Is Archy?

Arrest That Statue

Happy Inspirations


That Cockroach Glide

Archy Gets His Statue Made

Statue of Myself

Going to War of Just Going to Hell

More or Less Neutral

Between Him and His Masterpiece

War Times

Agate for You, Archy, Just to Curb Your Pride

The Story of Mehitabel the Cat

A Pampered Kitten

Mehitabel the Cat Has Struck

It Was Beer

A Saucer Full of Beer

The Cat Is Sore at Me

Comma Boss Comma


Workman Spare That Bathtub

Washington D C

Archy in Washington

To Help Win the War

Out of the Cockroach Body

A German Periscope

Patience Worth

Beware the Demon Rum

Sounds Like a Jolly Gang

Interest in Science

He Cried into His Beer


Too Romantic to Work

I Knew a Ghost

That Ghost That Loafs


Sad Looking Ghost

Bore His Way Out


Literary Slave No Longer

Poetry Is

Window Box War Gardens

The Crippled Cockroach

We Suspect Archy


Named after the Washington Arch

Aeroplane Mail

Assisting at a Suicide

Not a Fish

At the Zoo

Prohibition Rushes Toward Us

Income Tax Slacker

The Raiding Habit

A Loyal Allied Cootie

Dialogue among the Plants

Ye Instead of The

One Thing That Makes Crickets So Melancholy


Reports of My Exit

Glorious Footfulness

Falling Upwards


Smile When You Ride on the Subway

A Genuine Quip

Tobacco Fund

The Advice of Your Little Friend

Jane Gad Fly

The Influenza

A Tall Story

Chief Janitor

I Saw Archy

Peace Conference

More and More at Sea

Poet Overboard

Freedom of the Seas

Two Old Men

Passing the Bock

The Former Kaiser

Abdication Underneath the Bough

Who Pays for All This

The Former Czar


At the Tomb of Napoleon

Preliminary Peace

No Water Bug

Safer in America

An Interview with Mehitabel

No Beer No Work

Royal Blood and Anarchy

I Left There Too Soon

Classed with Fleas

A Home among the Casks

Help I Can Give the Worried Housewife

In Spite of H Dash Double L

Galoshes for Cockroaches

A Poem in the Kipling Manner

Put Me in the Movies

The Best Thing You Have Done Yet

Archy Is Still on Strike

Grin and Beer It

The Archy Strike

Call Archy Back

An Injunction

Archy Gets a 50 Per Cent Increase

Thank You for the Advice

Darned Little Justice

Archy Gets Restless Again

A Plum Plan

Trying to Ruin Me

To Settle the Controversy


This Monster Man

The Cat Show


Archy Is Ill

The Anti Cockroach Conspiracy

A Threat

The Shimmie

A Former Doughboy

Pretty Soft for You

A Little Waterbug

An Archy Drive

Sentimental about Birds

A Sad Time Dieting

Crazy as a Bed Bug

Random Thoughts by Archy

I Saw a Football Game


No Privacy

This Lenin Person

Organizing the Insects

The Cockroach Its Life History

My Private Comet

Dodo Birds and Cubist Posters

To Become Grasshoppers

Ku Klux Klam

O City of Angels

Archy Turns Highbrow for a Minute

Krew Krux Kranks

Cursed Fly Swatters


The Cheerful Oyster

Talking to a Moth

Ground for Optimism

Waiting for a Vacant Body

Interviewed the Mummy

Archy to the Radio Fans

Once Every Seventeen Years

The Truth about the Insects

Warty Bliggens

Strange Bedfellows

My Favorite Poem

Always the Lady

Archy's Own Short Course in Entomology

The Patagonian Penguin

Be Glad You're Not a Tomcat

The Most Luckless Creature

Low Brow

Song of Mehitabel

Forgets His Littleness

Business Matters


I Knuckle Under

The Dactyl Droops

Investigating Her Morals

Small Talk

Shakespeare and I

Thank You for the Mittens

Archy Is Excited

The Futility of Literature



Product Details

Marquis, Don
Penguin Books
Introduction by:
Sims, Michael
Sims, Michael
Sims, Michael
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Penguin Classics
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.80x5.16x.74 in. .63 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

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