Lessons in Acting was written by Webster Edgerly and published under his pseudonym of Edmund Shaftesbury in 1889. As the title suggests it's meant as a course of lessons for would-be actors. Unfortunately Edgerly was entirely unqualified to teach on the subject, being a rotten actor himself who lacked any insight into the art of performance.
Although his book falls far short of its intended goal, it is full of unintended humour, particularly because of its amazing illustrations depicting Edgerly himself showing how acting is to be done.
I have long nursed a desire to republish Lessons in Acting in a form that would best bring out its humorous qualities. And after some years of dicking around, I have finally finished it. A new extra funny edition, edited and rearranged for maximum chortle value, with numerous snarky comments appended for added giggliciousness, can now be yours.
"The ordinary man rarely ever thinks or knows the various meanings which are expressed through the attitudes of the legs."
"We advise all pupils to make a few screens. They are not expensive. They should be six feet and six inches high, and seven feet long. A door about six feet and two inches high, and two feet and two inches wide should be placed in the centre. The screens may be made of light frames and covered with Canton flannel. [...] With these the pupil may easily practice the modes of entrance and exit, and successfully apply many of the Rules of Acting."
Aside from the idiocies of Edgerly's words, the pictures alone justify any price. Here are just a few examples. The book itself contains more than 100 full-page illustrations, all of them just as good.