The Complete Works of Artemus Ward is a collection of written work by Charles Farrar Browne, who long wrote under the pen name referred to in the book's title.
The book opens with the brief biography of Browne written by Melville Landon. The basic details of the author's life are recounted, along with a discussion of the author's unique comedic style. Landon's work serves as an appropriate introduction to the man and his writings. From there, this collection is wholly focused on the work of Browne. The book is divided into seven sections: part one features essays, sketches, and letters; part two is a series of articles about the war; part three is a collection of romances and other short stories; part four an account of the author's travels; part five "The London Punch Letters"; part six features Artemus' Ward's Panorama; and finally part seven is devoted to miscellany. True to the title of the book, this is a detailed and all-encompassing collection of the author's work.
While he occasionally tackled more serious subjects, Browne was first and foremost a writer of comedy. This collection is intended to amuse, and Browne does so with a mix of clever wordplay and dry wit - Browne's true talent is in his layered comedy that reveals itself to the conscientious reader.
The Complete Works of Artemus Ward is an enjoyable collection of one of America's great forgotten comedic writers. For those unfamiliar with his writings, this book serves as the perfect introduction, and for those who have read Browne's work before, this collection is a reminder of the author's immense comedic talents.