Book Review: Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School (Benjamin Franklin)

Book Review: Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School (Benjamin Franklin)

Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School (writings by Benjamin Franklin)

Fart Proudly

How can you pass up a book titled “Fart Proudly” when browsing through a library book sale? I don’t think I could have spent 50 cents any better than picking this up. I would be doing myself, and all around me a disservice if I didn’t purchase it.

Thats one of the best things about these library booksales (and I love going to them, I go regularly to the Hershey Public Library Book Sale, the Hummelstown one at William H. and Marion C. Alexander Library, as well as the Middletown Public Library Book Sale, the Elizabethtown Public Library Book Sale, the Palmyra Library Book Sale, and others); you can find books like this. Books that you had no idea even existed let alone knew that you needed or wanted. And their just a quarter, or fifty scents, or at most two dollars.

Benjamin Franklin

From Wikipedia:

Benjamin Franklin FRSFRSAFRSE (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705][Note 1] – April 17, 1790) was an American polymath, a leading writer, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, printer, publisher, and political philosopher.[1] Among the most influential intellectuals of his time, Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States; a drafter and signer of the Declaration of Independence; and the first postmaster general.[2]

Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at age 23.[3] He became wealthy publishing this and Poor Richard’s Almanack, which he wrote under the pseudonym “Richard Saunders”.[4] After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of the policies of the British Parliament and the Crown.[5]

He pioneered and was the first president of the Academy and College of Philadelphia, which opened in 1751 and later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized and was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society and was elected its president in 1769. He was appointed deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753,[6] which enabled him to set up the first national communications network.

He was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. Franklin became a hero in America when, as an agent in London for several colonies, he spearheaded the repeal of the unpopular Stamp Act by the British Parliament. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired as the first U.S. ambassador to France and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco–American relations. His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing French aid.

From 1785 to 1788, he served as President of Pennsylvania. At some points in his life, he owned slaves and ran “for sale” ads for slaves in his newspaper, but by the late 1750s, he began arguing against slavery, became an active abolitionist, and promoted the education and integration of African Americans into U.S. society.

As a scientist, his studies of electricity made him a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics. He also charted and named the Gulf Stream current. His numerous important inventions include the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove.[7] He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia‘s first fire department,[8] and the University of Pennsylvania.[9] Franklin earned the title of “The First American” for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity. Foundational in defining the American ethos, Franklin has been called “the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become”.[10]

His life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and his status as one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers, have seen Franklin honored for more than two centuries after his death on the $100 bill and in the names of warships, many towns and counties, educational institutions, and corporations, as well as in numerous cultural references and a portrait in the Oval Office. His more than 30,000 letters and documents have been collected in The Papers of Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin – Wikipedia

Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School GoodReads Blurb

Before we get into the book review, lets dive into the back of the book’s blurb, as per GoodReads:

A mention of flatulence might conjure up images of bratty high school boys or lowbrow comics. But one of the most eloquent—and least expected—commentators on the subject is Benjamin Franklin. The writings in Fart Proudly reveal the rogue who lived peaceably within the philosopher and statesman. Included are “The Letter to a Royal Academy”; “On Choosing a Mistress”; “Rules on Making Oneself Disagreeable”; and other jibes. Franklin’s irrepressible wit found an outlet in perpetrating hoaxes, attacking marriage and other sacred cows, and skewering the English Parliament. Reminding us of the humorous, irreverent side of this American icon, these essays endure as both hilarious satire and a timely reminder of the importance of a free press.

Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School – GoodReads

Book Review: Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School

“Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School” is a compilation that presents a different side of one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Carl Japikse, this collection brings together some of Franklin’s more humorous and lesser-known writings, showcasing his wit, irreverence, and intellectual playfulness.

This book serves as a reminder that Franklin was not just a statesman, scientist, and philosopher but also a master of satire and humor. The title itself, “Fart Proudly,” refers to an actual essay written by Franklin that satirically suggests scientific research into making flatulence smell pleasant. This essay, alongside others in the collection, highlights Franklin’s ability to use humor to provoke thought on societal norms and scientific inquiry.

The compilation includes a variety of pieces, such as essays, letters, and hoaxes, many of which might surprise readers familiar only with Franklin’s more formal and well-known public writings. For example, his witty letter to the Royal Academy of Brussels, where he mockingly proposes that research should be conducted to diminish the offensive smell of human flatulence, is both an exercise in satire and an ingenious critique of the sometimes absurd pursuits of scientific societies.

Japikse does a commendable job in curating these texts, not only by selecting content that illustrates Franklin’s playful side but also by providing context that helps modern readers understand the 18th-century references and humor. This contextual information is crucial, as it allows readers to appreciate the cleverness and impact of Franklin’s words during his time.

“Fart Proudly” also reveals Franklin’s progressive thoughts on personal freedoms and societal improvements. Even through his humorous writings, he challenged social norms, criticized political structures, and advocated for intellectual freedom and improvement of the human condition. His sharp wit was not merely for entertainment but often served a larger purpose, encouraging his readers to think critically and skeptically about the world around them.

Overall, “Fart Proudly” is not just an anthology of forgotten writings but a delightful glimpse into the playful and cunning mind of Benjamin Franklin. It’s an engaging read for anyone interested in American history, literature, or political satire. The book serves as a potent reminder of the power of humor in communication and the timeless quality of Franklin’s intellect and wit. This collection is recommended for readers who enjoy a mix of history, humor, and unconventional perspectives from one of America’s most influential figures.

My GoodReads Rating: ***
My LibraryThing Rating: ***1/2
Global Average GoodReads Rating: 3.79 (as of 2.14.24)


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