the long lost tales of archy and mehitabel

Don Marquis

“Archy and his racy pal Mehitabel are timeless,” noted E.B. White in his essay on Don Marquis and his famous creations, and the undimmed enthusiasm of several generations of fans testifies to their appeal. A whimsical and sophisticated sage, archy the cockroach entertained readers with iconoclastic observations on pretensions, politics, and our place in the cosmos during Marquis’s career as a New York newspaper columnist in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Allegedly tapping out stories at night by leaping from key to key on Marquis’s typewriter, archy couldn’t quite manage the shift key for capital letters. Although his tales appeared in lower case, his views achieved a level grand enough to solidify Marquis’s reputation as an American humorist in the tradition of Mark Twain, Joel Chandler Harris, and Ring Lardner. archyology brings together selected “lost” tales that were rescued from oblivion by Jeff Adams, who found them among papers stored in a steamer trunk since Marquis’s death.

Cover Image of archyology: the long lost tales of archy and mehitabel
Paper: $17.95
ISBN-13: 9781584658061
Pages: 120 | Size: 5 in. x 8.5 in.
Date Published: August 31, 2009

“This sweet, sweet volume brings Marquis (and his cockroach and cat) back to us. It’s such an unexpected treat.”

Washington Post


  • Archy and his racy pal Mehitabel are timeless.

    E.B. White
  • This sweet, sweet volume brings Marquis (and his cockroach and cat) back to us. It's such an unexpected treat . . . Readers (and children and grandchildren of readers) of Don Marquis will dearly love and welcome this book.

    Washington Post
  • Archy is more peripatetic than usual in these books — he moves away from his old haunts in New York in order to observe the strange goings on in Paris, though with that same jaundiced eye . . . Marquis's gifts as a comic satirist have often been written about. Less has been said about the fact that he was also tilting at the excesses of American writers of bad free verse when he had archy write in the way that he did . . . [he created] two of America's most enduring comic characters.

    The Economist
  • Some years ago Jeff Adams, a Marquis buff, turned up a trove of papers containing a number of works by archy the cockroach which had escaped inclusion in any Marquis anthology. Four appeared at the time in The Atlantic, but problems with illustrations have delayed book publication until the present. Now, happily for true archyphiles and admirers of subtle encroachment, here they all are, with witty drawings by Ed Frascino.

    The Atlantic
  • Fans of Marquis can take heart, there's still more to come . . . Allegedly hurling himself headlong at the keys of Marquis' typewriter by night, archy would tap out his lower-case observations on our place in the cosmos while mehitabel pranced down Shinbone Alley . . . It's grand to see there's a dance or two in the old dame yet.

    Boston Sunday Globe
  • Delightful, quirky, unpredictable — a gem.

    Joyce Carol Oates
  • The whole book is a pleasure: the right words in the right places with the right drawings. Delightful drawings.

    George Booth
  • Archy's profound musings on love, politics, and much, much more are perfectly illustrated by Edward Frascino's witty and beautiful drawings.

    Roz Chast

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