Of all the literary genres, humor has the shortest shelf life—except for Archy and Mehitabel, that is. First published in 1916, it is a classic of American literature. Archy is a cockroach, inside whom resides the soul of a free-verse poet; he communicates with Don Marquis by leaping upon the keys of the columnist’s typewriter. In poems of varying length, Archy pithily describes his wee world, the main fixture of which is Mehitabel, a devil-may-care alley cat.
Don Marquis (1878–1937) was a journalist and columnist in New York City and the author of several novels, short-story collections, and plays. Marquis was the author of about 35 books. He co-wrote (or contributed posthumously) to the films The Sports Pages, Shinbone… More about Don Marquis