New to the Wonderful World of Wodehouse

DiscussãoThe Drones Club (all things P.G. Wodehouse)

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New to the Wonderful World of Wodehouse

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Ago 4, 2012, 12:38 pm

What Ho!
Despite having enjoyed watching Jeeves and Wooster on the television and listening to stories on the radio for a number of years I have come remarkable late to the joys of actually reading the books. A copy of The Inimitable Jeeves was on my shelves for a couple of years before I finally got around to reading it this summer (hangs head in shame). It is so brilliant, I am currently reading Thank You Jeeves and busy building up my Wodehouse collection. So what you might ask is the problem? Well not a problem as such, it's simply that I keep laughing out loud and insisting that I read various passages to my husband (as well as telling him how unbelievably good Wodehouse is) and I fear that he is coming to the conclusion that I am ' mentally negligible'. I therefore need to find other fans on LT with whom I can talk about the works, various quotations with - eg. 'she looked like she had been poured into her clothes and forgotten to say when'.

Pip pip

Ago 4, 2012, 12:52 pm

You've come to the right place! There is so much to enjoy in Wodehouse :)

Ago 4, 2012, 1:33 pm

Most edifying

Ago 5, 2012, 5:18 am

how I envy you! to be reading these wonderful books for the first time. I can still remember the amazement and joy of my teenage self when I first discovered Wodehouse. It was impossible to do anything but laugh out loud at such gems as " My Aunt Dahlia has a carrying voice... If all other sources of income failed, she could make a good living calling the cattle home across the Sands of Dee." or " Like so many substantial citizens of America, he had married young and kept on marrying, springing from blonde to blonde like the chamois of the Alps leaping from crag to crag."
Beware- this Wodehouse mania can be a life-long habit.

Ago 8, 2012, 2:13 am

Hello Maura49, scarper & wisewoman,

My adoration and thus my collection of Wodehouse is developing well. I have now devoted an entire shelf to my current stash of books with room for more. I am currently reading The Code of the Woosters, complete joy! My beloved husband (who is currently working away in China) keeps suggesting that I intersperse my Wodehouse reading with other books, but at the moment every time I think I should read something else I am just too tempted to read another one! It is rather like a delicious box of chocolates which you keep putting the lid back on and then you think mmmmmh maybe just one more.

How could anyone resist such comments as

"There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself Do trousers matter?"
"The mood will pass, sir"

Mind you often the names alone make me laugh. I love the name 'Gussie Fink-Nottle'. One of my favourite characters with his love of newts and his looking like a fish.

Do you also have Wodehouse biographies? In your collections and if so what do you recommend?

Toddle pip!

Ago 8, 2012, 8:16 am

Hi Bowerbirds-Library,

The Wodehouse biography I really enjoyed is by Robert McCrum and is called Wodehouse A Life It covers his long writing life in depth and is particularly good on his Broadway and Hollywood days. It is also relatively recent, 2004, coming about 20 years after the last major Biography which i believe to be P.G. Wodehouse by Frances Donaldson in 1982. Happy Reading

Editado: Ago 8, 2012, 9:05 am

>5 Bowerbirds-Library:,6
There have actually been several others. Nonetheless, if you just want to read one biography, McCrum is probably the one to go for, because it's easy to find and brings together all the best ideas from the ones that came before.

Donaldson was the "official" biography, commissioned by the family, and is a bit too eager to avoid embarrassing anyone, so not very incisive.
David Jasen's Wodehouse: portrait of a master (1981) is a bit stodgy to read, but it contains a vast quantity of useful facts. Jasen interviewed Wodehouse several times towards the end of his life, so there's quite a bit of first-hand material, but not much analysis.
Benny Green's Wodehouse: a literary biography (also 1981, I think) is a bit odd in the way it mixes up biographical information with paraphrases on Wodehouse's fiction, but is fun to read and has some interesting insights.
There's also another one by Joseph Connolly (ca. 1983) that I haven't read.

P.G. Wodehouse man and myth by Barry Phelps (1992) was the first biography that really takes apart the persona Wodehouse created around himself and tries to deduce something about his real character. For my money, this is the best biography so far. McCrum largely follows the same line as Phelps, adding a bit more evidence that came to light after Phelps was published, mostly about the wartime broadcasts.

You might also want to read Wodehouse's three memoirs (Performing Flea, Bring on the Girls and Over Seventy: collected in Wodehouse on Wodehouse), although they should not be regarded as reliable evidence!

If you really want to get fancy, there are a lot of other books about specific aspects of Wodehouse by enthusiasts like Tony Ring and Norman Murphy, most of them out of print and very expensive...

Ago 8, 2012, 12:15 pm