Talk:S. J. Perelman

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Untitled[edit]

aShouldn't the article be titled "S. J. Perelman" and the current title be a redirect? If I knew how to switch them, I would.

I agree. "Sidney Joseph Perelman" is not a good title for the article. He was almost always refered to in print as "S. J. Perelman". I'll take care of switching them, and since you expressed a willingness to do something, how about helping take care of the articles in "what links here" to avoid the redirect? Cheers, -- Infrogmation 05:10, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • I have loved Perelman for 40 years now and the idea that his writing resembles that of James Joyce and is stream of consciousness is the greatest nonsense I have ever read. It's like saying that Mickey Mantle perfected his swing by studying Ernest Hemingway. Whoever wrote it has obviously never read anything by Perelman (unless, of course, Perelman once wrote a parody of Joyce, which he may well have done). Having read hundreds of Perelman's carefully structured, meticulously composed shorts, I would say that possibly Perelman once said, as a satiric, height-of-absurdity, reponse to a particularly stupid interviewer, "Yes, I do indeed try to write like my idol, James Joyce." When I get over my indignation I'll rewrite this paragraph. Grrrrr!Hayford Peirce 03:28, 2 Aug 2004 (UTC)

IMDB biographer Jon Hopwood says on the site that Perelman's birth name was Simeon, not Sidney, yet his "birth name" is given as Sidney there too. I gave up trying to find Hopwood to ask for his sources. Maybe somebody could find reliable birth data... preferably a certificate because even encyclopedias offer Sidney although it appears that name was based on his old nickname Sid, not vice versa. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.113.0.60 (talk) 18:56, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

the purported James Joyce connection[edit]

"Sid's delivery was much like his writing-- cutting, precise, sprinkled with Yiddishisms and jargon from a dozen professions. He was erudite and well read, especially in classic and contemporary fiction. He told us he had started out to be a novelist, another James Joyce, his hero ("the great comic writer of our time). It was from Joyce that he took his love of language--wordplay, metaphor, irony, parody, paradox, symbol, free association, the whole figurative arsenal. But when he failed early on to write an American Ulysses, he quit fiction for satire, starting first as a cartoonist (contributing one classic caption to cartoon lore: "I've got Bright's disease and he's got mine") and moving on to the sketch form (he liked to call these pieces feullitons)."

This is a far cry from saying that he wrote in "stream of consciousness" mode -- nothing could be further from the truth.Hayford Peirce 04:13, 2 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I think it's possible to stray further from the truth than that (if that's even what I said), but no matter. I was surprised no one had written a good article yet, but didn't think I could. If I inspired you to do so, then I accomplished my purpose, though I would have preferred to have done it without annoying you. I appreciate your love of the subject.


Well, I'm glad you liked the result -- I shouldn't have been so brusque with my original comments, I suppose. I was just so staggered to see the comparison with Joyce (whom I *hated* and found totally unreadable back in the years when I was devouring Perelman and, like Woody Allen, trying to write like him) that my eyes nearly fell out and I could hardly contain myself. Anyway, I doubt that I would have felt impelled to flesh out the article unless that comment had been there. As I said in the article, Perelman is a very difficult writer to characterise -- he's really very sui generis....

There was one characteristic thing he did that I wanted to put in the article but I couldn't find a concrete example of it. He would take a common word or phrase and change its meaning completely in the context of what he was writing. For instance: "Picking up the heavy garment and throwing it over my shoulders, I walked out in a huff." That's something I came up with in emulation of S.J. when I was about 15 -- I thought at the time that all of his skits had at least one example like this but now I'm unable to find any.... Best, Hayford Peirce 05:30, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)


I'm very sorry that I angered you. If it makes you think better of me, I hate Joyce as much as you do, but it was my understanding that Perelman's own opinion of Joyce differed from ours. That was why I used the word parody, implying you don't have to like one to like the other. Anyway, you said it better.

I have a copy of "The Most of S.J. Perelman" that I have owned for a quarter century. Lately I have found that most of my favorite lines are from "Westward Ha!" such as this one near the end: "The homeward-bound Americans were as merry as grigs (the Southern Railway had considerately furnished a box of grigs for purposes of comparison) ... " Richard K. Carson


You didn't anger me, just startled and baffled me. Anyway, I'm sorry if I over-reacted. It would make a nice Perelman skit, perhaps. I can't seem to find my copy of the "The Most of," all of my S.J. books are scattered around the house for some reason. In any case, that "grigs" thing is exactly the sort of Perelmanism that I was thinking of -- I'll stick it into the article at once. Thanks for the tip -- there are better ones, I think, but this will do for the moment.... Hayford Peirce 17:33, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)


I have a copy of Alan Coren's moving, yet funny, obituary for Perelman from a 1979 issue of Punch. It is protected by copyright, so I can't upload it, but if anyone wants a copy, my email is matthews@cds.unina.it

I am a newcomer to Wikpedia, and there must be an easier way of doing this! User: Jeffmatt

Another newcomer. I have long thought that Perelman's style is modeled on that of Sax Roehmer. Has anyone ever tried that out? Papagec 04:03, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Dear gentlemen: Dawn Ginsburgh's Revenge is not a novel, it is his first collection of writings, culled largely from magazines like Judge and Punch. I know, I own and treasure this collection (it's pretty rare). I am unaware of any novel Perelman wrote on his own; could you be thinking of Parlor, Bedlam, and Bath, co-written with Q.J. Reynolds? Chris Hertzog (christian.hertzog AT gmail.com) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 132.239.88.133 (talk) 18:23, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

an Adam Perelman story[edit]

Robert Benchley's son Peter, you probably know, wrote the bestseller Jaws.

Around the time the movie came out, I hung out at a bar where a bartender named Adam would constantly complain about what a hack Peter Benchley was, that he couldn't write his way out of a paper bag...this guy went on and on bellyaching about Peter Benchley.

I asked a friend who introduced me to the bar, what is Adam's problem with Peter Benchley?

Adam's full name was Adam Perelman -- he was an aspiring writer. His father was S.J. Perelman.

Adam is only mentioned here as a nuisance to his Dad and as having "ended up" in a reformatory.

He was well out of reformatory age, and a law-abiding bartender when I encountered him. Perhaps that "ended up" phrase could be revised? If he had died in the reformatory, it would be correct, but he did not, though I imagine he's dead by now. Bustter (talk) 04:48, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

web search for Adam Perelman ans S.J. shows that "Adam Perelman and Abby Perelman" are the copyright claimants of record for most of S.J.'s work. Probably should be in the article -- Abby Perelman isnt even mentioned. She was his daughter, born circa 1939.

See http://www.abebooks.com/Original-Travel-Diary-Young-Abby-Perelman/1778527805/bd -- though that page will be gone when her diary is sold. Bustter (talk) 21:20, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Just for the record, Adam Perelman is very much alive. He attends the same church I do in Seattle. (StPaulSeattle.org) 24.17.45.173 (talk) 03:34, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Adam passed away on November 22, 2013 in Seattle, WA. He is much missed by those fortunate enough to have been his friends.[1]

daughter's diary & in-law to Nathaniel West[edit]

I figure, what the hey, lets waste a few electrons on this description of Abby's diary. While the ABE Books page may not be regarded asreliable, and too transient to be used as source, this may provide leads to research volunteers.

We have here the model of his MG (Tourer) and the name of his mynah (Tong Cha), and I think the relation to Nat West (West's wiki article indicates their friendship stretched from college to West's death in 1940) is very important, as the influence is obvious (West was no Joyce):

An original leather-bound travel diary of ten-year old Abby Perelman (with her name gilt-stamped on the front cover), daughter of S.J. Perelman, of an around-the-world trip with her family in 1949 with daily entries by Abby describing her experiences. Laid-in is a signed autograph note from Groucho Marx, the Perelman family friend and colleague of her father, to Abby: "Since you're a female my love to you Abby, Groucho Marx." The note was likely to have been written just before the family left Los Angeles where they visited with various Hollywood friends prior to heading for San Francisco and then the Far East. In her diary, on the date of Friday, July 15, 1949 when Abby and her family were in London, there two other Marx Brother signed autograph notes. The first is from Harpo and reads: "To Abby from Harpo, XXX, '49, London." and has his stamp showing an image of him playing the harp with the words "Best Wishes." On the next page is an entry from Chico reading: "Dear Abby, Thank God you don't look like the old man. Chico Marx." The diary is bound in dark blue leather with "Abby Perelman" gilt-stamped on the front cover with the original pencil in its special holder affixed to the inside and outer edge of the rear cover. Very good plus with only slight signs of wear to the extremities, which is remarkable considering Abby's young age (10 years old) and the nine month journey. Much of what Abby writes in her diary was part of PerelmanÕs book "The Swiss Family Perelman," including her father's purchase of his beloved MG Tourer sports car and his mynah bird, Tong Cha. Sidney Joseph Perelman, popularly known as S. J. Perelman (1904 Ð 1979), was one of the most widely read literary icons of the Golden Age of American Humor. His New Yorker pieces, fiction, and collected essays are legendary for their biting wit and mastery of caricature and language. He was the brother-in-law of the writer Nathanael West with whom he shared a close relationship up until West's death in a car accident in 1940 at age thirty-seven, and whose memory and literary reputation he devoted himself to maintaining. Bookseller Inventory # 18748E

Copyright problem[edit]

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This article has been reverted by a bot to this version as part of a large-scale clean-up project of multiple article copyright infringement. (See the investigation subpage) This has been done to remove User:Accotink2's contributions as they have a history of extensive copyright violation and so it is assumed that all of their major contributions are copyright violations. Earlier text must not be restored, unless it can be verified to be free of infringement. For legal reasons, Wikipedia cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or printed material; such additions must be deleted. Contributors may use sources as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously. VWBot (talk) 05:18, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ http://www.seattlepi.com/local/obits/article/King-County-deaths-12-10-2013-5051253.php