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Fart Happens: A Selected Review of the Literature of Farting

Introduction - General Works - Humor - Biography - Children's Books - Medical Advice - Miscellanea

General Works

These books cover a range of fart-related topics from a social history of farting to the biology of flatulence to breaking wind in the arts and literature. They also include your basic, tacky, low-brow humor related to farting. If someone happens to find one of these books on your shelf, you can at least make a case that your interest in farts is intellectual, even if it is not.


Who Cut the Cheese? A Cultural History of the Fart
Dawson, Jim, Who Cut the Cheese? A Cultural History of the Fart. Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press, 1999.

Blame It On the Dog
Dawson, Jim, Blame It on the Dog: a Modern History of the Fart. Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press, 2006.

Don D. Nibbelink's Fearsome Folklore of Farting
Nibbelink, Don D., Don D. Nibbelink's Fearsome Folklore of Farting. Berkeley, Calif.: Frog Books, 2008.

Who Cut the Cheese?

This is the best book I've read on farting so far. It's comprehensive, factual, and it doesn't have too many horrible fart puns in it. Even better, it's supported by an extensive bibliography and is indexed. It covers the entire range of aspects of the fart: what it is, where the name comes from, its mention in literature from Aristophanes to Chaucer to Mark Twain and beyond. There's even an entire chapter devoted to Le Petomane, the famous fartiste of the Moulin Rouge. From this book, I learned that Johnny Depp once said that he would like to play Le Petomane in movie some day (see the miscellanea section for more info) and that Whoopi Goldberg got the first half of her stage name due to chronic flatulence. It also includes a complete transcription of a 1940s party record called, "The Crepitation Contest." If you can only get away with one fart book in your collection, this is the one to get.


Blame It on the Dog: a Modern History of the Fart

This the sequel to Who Cut the Cheese? A Cultural History of the Fart. There's a brief overview of the facts on farting that were presented in the first book, and then the reader is treated to even more fun facts and humor about flatulence that weren't included in the first book.

But wait, there's more! The author has a third book in the works with the title (I kid you not), Did Somebody Step on a Duck? I can't wait for that to come out.


Don D. Nibbelink's Fearsome Folklore of Farting

This is an amusing mixture of history, science, literature, and completely made-up tales of flatulence. While the book supplies an icon of a devil to indicate the stories that were "fanciful fun," there are no footnotes for the stories that were presented as true. While there's just enough information to follow up on some of the facts, I was disappointed, as a librarian, in the lack of a bibliography or index. I believe that any topic worth writing about is worth doing well, no matter how vulgar and tasteless.

 

Copyright © 2000-2010, Julie Mangin. All Rights Reserved. April 2, 2016