The "Bab" Ballads: Much Sound and Little Sense, Complete Edition in One Volume including the "Bab Ballads" and "More Bab Ballads," by W.S. Gilbert with 215 illustrations by the author, hardcover (good/very good condition)
"Originally published in the columns of FUN, a monthly magazine, The Bab Ballads are light verse by W. S. Gilbert, illustrated with his own comic drawings. Gilbert wrote the Ballads before he became famous for his comic opera librettos with Arthur Sullivan. In writing The Bab Ballads Gilbert developed his unique 'topsy-turvy' style, where the humor was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd. The Ballads also reveal Gilbert's cynical and satirical approach to humor. They became famous on their own, as well as being a source for plot elements, characters and songs that Gilbert would recycle in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. The Bab Ballads take their name from Gilbert's childhood nickname, and he later began to sign his illustrations 'Bab'" (Wikipedia).
By 1868, Gilbert's poems had won sufficient popularity to justify a collected edition. He selected forty-four of the poems (thirty-four of them illustrated) for an edition of The “Bab” Ballads – Much Sound and Little Sense. A second collected edition, More “Bab” Ballads, including thirty-five ballads (all illustrated), appeared in 1872.
"Nothing else quite like the Ballads has ever been produced in the English language. They contain both satire and nonsense, as well as a great deal of utter absurdity. The Ballads were read aloud at private dinner-parties, public banquets and even in the House of Lords. The ballads have been much published, and there are even recordings of readings of some of them" (Ibid.).