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Joe Miller's Jests : the Wit's Vade-me-cum
Joe Miller's Jests the Wit's Vade-me-cum Author:John Mottley Joe Miller was a popular comic actor on the London stage from 1709 until his death in 1738. A year later, the publisher T. Read enlisted a down-and-out writer named John Mottley to compile a book of jokes, and stuck Miller?s name onto it. Not only did Joe Miller originate only a handful of the Jests published posthumously under his name; he was ... more »apparently illiterate.
The book proved wildly popular, and a series of ever-expanding editions followed: By 1865, there were nearly 1300 jests in the volume. Meanwhile, the late comedian?s name entered the vernacular: A Joe Miller is a groaner, a hackneyed joke. In his introduction to the 1962 Dover facsimile edition of the 1739 Joe Miller, Robert Hutchinson does a nice job placing the book in the context of its era and exploring the reasons for its popularity.« less