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With the opening of the Great Exhibition on May Day 1851 the self- confidence of the Victorian had reached its zenith. While the Queen's loyal subjects carried the crusade to raise Victorian order throughout the world, a panel ofeminent authorities' at home were writing a household encyclopaedia. It is from this three-volume, closely-printed tome that Peter Keene has culled the delightful entries which appear in ‘Never Nonplussed'. The authors of the original ‘Dictionary of Daily Wants' claimed: ‘There can scarcely arise a domestic want upon which it will not be found to afford good advice, and sound practical information.' For instance, how does one set about the treatment of brain fever, resuscitating the apparently dead from hanging, or exposure to weather? Do you know how to behave at a Christmas party or when faced with carving the family joint? For wives there is a special entry - Hints for, and Work, best method of doing. ‘Never Nonplussed' makes the ideal book to reach for in an emergency - it may not solve the crisis but it will certainly restore the sense of humour. Cartoonist John Jensen has wittily illustrated the text with some delightful line drawings.


During the Second World War, Londoner Peter Keene commanded minesweepers in the North Sea, the Mediterranean and ports on the west coast of Italy. After the war he went straight into publishing and began contributing humorous articles to the national press, magazines and radio. The uncle of celebrated Chess Grandmaster Raymond Keene, he enjoyed listening to music, and was an enthusiastic Sunday painter. He died in 1990.

Front Cover Illustration: Courtesy of the Raymond and Annette Keene Collection
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