[ Free Reading ] How to Be a Hermit or a Bachelor Keeps HouseAuthor Will Cuppy – Kairafanan.co

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10 thoughts on “How to Be a Hermit or a Bachelor Keeps House

  1. says:

    Will Cuppy (1884-1949) was a well-known journalist, columnist and humorous. His best known book The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody was published posthumously. It, like How to Be a Hermit was a collection of essays, previously published in magazines like the New Yorker.

    The focus of How to Be a Hermit is Cuppy's time living in a shack on a small island, Jones Island, off Long Island's south shore, from 1921 to 1929. The nearby Coast Guard crew helped him repair the shack and shared supplies and recipes with him. In 1929 the encroachment of the Jones State Park forced him off the island, but a dispensation from the head of the parks department allowed him to keep the shack, and he continued to visit the island until his death.

    These gently humorous essays show the difficulty of living alone, dependent on the mercy of the coast guardsmen and the seasonal visitors to the island, who left behind miscellaneous canned goods when they left. He quotes the acerbic comments of his only companion, a black cat.

    He supported himself by writing book reviews for $0.25 each, and writing a column for the New York Herald Tribune, and selling articles to the New Yorker and McCall's magazine. Very shy of people, Cuppy never married, thus the subtitle. He described a hermit as "simply a person to whom civilization has failed to adjust itself."

    Civilization never adjusted itself to Will Cuppy, and he got his revenge by writing these wonderful essays.


  2. says:

    Will Cuppy was a great humorist. This is not his best book or his funniest, but it is as close as he ever got to writing autobiography. It provides fascinating glimpses into his life during the 1920s, when he was still an obscure and impecunious book reviewer.

    The New York Times said that Cuppy was known as the hermit of Jones Beach "because he used to retire to a shack there to brood from time to time." In fact he brooded there full-time from 1921 to 1929, which should qualify him as an expert. A hermit, said Cuppy, "is simply a person to whom civilization has failed to adjust itself." This book provides all you will need to know, including recipes, housekeeping tips, important information about the history of spinach, and full particulars on "living from can to mouth"— "new, novel and palatable ways of opening tin cans." Advice to cooks: "When you smell it burning, it's done." I hesitate to recommend his recipes, even in emergencies, but his "Cuppy Plan of Motionless Housekeeping" works for me!

    He tells how to discourage visitors and how to hide private food stashes from them. He discusses whether a hermit should keep pets, such as fish or clams, concluding in the negative. Pet fish wound one's vanity past bearing with their complete lack of response. And "the appearance of the clam is all against it for anything approaching intimate relations. For what becomes of high romance when you can't tell whether the small exposed portion of the other party is its foot or its face?"

    A book of deep philosophical reflections on topics important to hermits: sardine sandwiches, canned corn, ham and eggs, cabbages and beans, free food. Even prunes—did they ask to be stewed? And spinach especially, also known as succory pottage. The humor is subtle and not for everyone, but this is must reading for Cuppy fans.




  3. says:

    You may know Will Cuppy from some of his history (if not, look it up, it's funny & worth reading). This is much earlier work, from a time when he lived on an island next to the Coast Guard, and wrote essays. Fun stuff.


  4. says:

    The closest we will ever get to an autobiography of this great man. Unabashedly seethes with piscatorial love and a certain loathing for the company of humans.


  5. says:

    Weird mixed story I couldn't get into. Gave up after a few chapters.