S. J. Perelman

William Shawn, who edited the New Yorker from 1952 to 1987, said of S. J. Perelman, "Along with being funny, his allusions and wordplay could be as recondite as Joyce’s, Pound’s, or Nabokov’s." 

From the March 8, 2010 New Yorker, here is a fictional correspondence between a French laundry owner and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s father, who reportedly sent his laundry to Paris to be done. (the link to this source is below)

July 18, 1903

Pandit Motilal Nehru
Allahabad, U.P., India

I am desolated beyond words at the pique I sense between the lines in your recent letter, and I affirm to you on my wife’s honor that in the six generations the family has conducted this business, yours is the first complaint we have ever received… Only yesterday, Marcel Proust, an author you will hear more of one of these days, called at our établissement (establishment) to felicitate us in person. The work we do for him is peculiarly exacting; due to his penchant for making notes on his cuffs, we must observe the greatest discretion in selecting which to launder. In fine, our function is as much editorial as sanitary, and he stated unreservedly that he holds our literary judgment in the highest esteem….

Yours cordially,


And here are a few samples of his writing I took from The Best of S, J. Perelman: 

(of his first  cook) But if her behavior was erratic, there was no lack of consistency in Philomene's cuisine. Meat loaf and cold fried chicken succeeded each other with the deadly precision of tracer bullets.

 (of his second cook) It was William's opinion, freely given, that cooked food was dead food and that I would triple my energy by living on fronds.