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Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) - A Series of Unfortunate Events

Untitled Document Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)

A Series of Unfortunate Events



The name Lemony Snicket ostensibly came from research for Handler's first book, The Basic Eight. Handler wanted to receive material from organizations he found "offensive or funny", but did not want to use his real name, and invented "Lemony Snicket" as a pseudonym. He would also use the name to write prank letters to newspapers, pretending to be outraged at a trivial news item. When writing A Series of Unfortunate Events, he and his editor decided the books should be published under the narrator's name, rather than his.



Like the Baudelaires, Snicket came from a family of three children. His brother Jacques Snicket and sister Kit Snicket were also V.F.D. members and friends of the Baudelaire parents. Both Jacques and Kit appear as supporting characters in the Series of Unfortunate Events books. He also knew Count Olaf in his early life, as the two attended school together.

In his youth, Lemony Snicket attended a V.F.D.-run boarding school with several other characters from the series. He received later tuition at a V.F.D. headquarters in the Mortmain Mountains, and was employed at newspaper The Daily Punctilio after graduating. He was an obituary spell checker and theater critic.

Lemony Snicket conducted an ill-fated romance with an actress Beatrice, Lemony and Beatrice were engaged to be married, but Beatrice broke off the engagement for unclear reasons (although the series heavily implies that she believed Lemony to be responsible for crimes committed by Count Olaf) and returned her ring to Lemony, along with a two-hundred page book explaining why the two could not be wed. She eventually married another man, Bertrand, and finally suffered a tragic death in the fire that destroyed the Baudelaires' mansion. Snicket frequently alludes to Beatrice in his narration and dedicates each Series of Unfortunate Events book to her.


Plot summary

The series follows the adventures of three siblings, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, after their parents were killed in a fire at the family mansion. In The Bad Beginning, they briefly live with a friend of their parents, Mr. Poe, who is the person in charge of the Baudelaire fortune after the Baudelaire parents' deaths, before being sent to live with Count Olaf, whom Mr. Poe describes as either the siblings' "third cousin four times removed, or their fourth cousin three times removed". The siblings discover that he intends to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune, which awaits Violet, the eldest child, when she turns eighteen. In the first seven books, Olaf, each time in different disguises, follows the children wherever they go so he can get closer to the orphans and steal their fortune. Their roles switch in the eighth through twelfth books, in which the orphans adopt disguises while on the run from the police after being framed by Count Olaf, disguised as Detective Dupin, for the murder of Count Omar (really Jacques Snicket). The Baudelaires routinely try to get help from Mr. Poe, but Poe is always either busy with work, oblivious to the danger Olaf poses, unaware that the disguised Olaf is not who he claims to be or simply thinks the Baudelaires are lying.

Each of the three siblings has a distinctive skill that often helps them during their adventures. Violet is always inventing new things to help them, Klaus is always finding out new information by reading books, and Sunny has extremely sharp teeth that can bite almost anything in two. [4] In later books, Sunny learns how to cook, as she begins to grow to the normal size for her teeth so cooking becomes her primary skill. Sunny originally spoke in single word utterances which are often a variety of incomplete sentences and some short word sentences as well. Their meaning is either disguised by being spelled phonetically (e.g., 'surchmi' in The Slippery Slope), backwards (e.g., 'edasurc' [crusade] in The Carnivorous Carnival) through cultural references (Sunny says: 'Matahari', followed by a definition of 'If I stay, I can spy on them and find out.'), or being written in other languages (e.g., Shalom or Sayonara), but eventually she begins to speak more in complete English sentences, her first possibly being "I'm not a baby" in The Slippery Slope, or "Like me" in The Vile Village.

Lemony Snicket, the author of the stories and the pseudonym of Daniel Handler, is actually a character himself on the periphery of the stories. He follows the Baudelaires, researching and recording their exploits. Bruce Butt noted in 2002 that in each book a letter from Snicket to his editor is included, presented as exciting updates on Snicket's research into the Baudelaire orphans, which Butt considered to be "the slyest aspect of the way this series has been ingeniously promoted". Over the course of the series, the Baudelaires learn some vague information about Snicket and possibly meet him briefly in The Wide Window and The Penultimate Peril.


A Series of Unfortunate Events collection:

  1. The Bad Beginning
  2. The Reptile Room
  3. The Wide Window
  4. The Miserable Mill
  5. The Austere Academy
  6. The Ersatz Elevator
  7. The Vile Village
  8. The Hostile Hospital
  9. The Carnivorous Carnival
  10. The Slippery Slope
  11. The Grim Grotto
  12. The Penultimate Peril
  13. The End


Other Books by Lemony Snicket / Daniel Handler:

The Basic Eight
Watch Your Mouth
How to Dress for Every Occasion
Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid
The Beatrice Letters
Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorised Autobiography
The Lalke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming
The Lump of Coal





Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)

A Series of Unfortunate Events


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