- Disagreeable Man, The
Gilbert, W. S.
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Volunteers bring you 26 recordings of The Disagreeable Man by Sir W. S. Gilbert. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for June 10, 2012.
The Bab Ballads are a collection of light verse by W. S. Gilbert, illustrated with his own comic drawings. Gilbert wrote the Ballads before he became famous for his comic opera librettos with Arthur Sullivan. In writing the Bab Ballads, Gilbert developed his unique "topsy-turvy" style, where the humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd. The Ballads also reveal Gilbert's cynical and satirical approach to humour. They became famous on their own, as well as being a source for plot elements, characters and songs that Gilbert would recycle in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. The Bab Ballads take their name from Gilbert's childhood nickname, and he later began to sign his illustrations "Bab".
Nothing else quite like the Ballads has ever been produced in the English language. They contain both satire and nonsense, as well as a great deal of utter absurdity. The Ballads were read aloud at private dinner-parties, public banquets and even in the House of Lords. The ballads have been much published, and there are even recordings of readings of some of them.