I recently inherited a splendid shelf-full of P G Wodehouse in a hand-tooled Folio edition.
My shelf of Wodehouse
But where to begin with Wodehouse?
Pondering this problem, I was delighted to come across fellow WordPress blogger Plumtopia, who specialises in, amongst other things, how to read P G Wodehouse. I discovered two invaluable articles:
- Getting started with Bertie and Jeeves: a chronological challenge considers where new readers should begin reading the series. It is a terrific piece and includes admirable advice about ignoring its own advice if you so wish.
- P G Wodehouse reading list: the Jeeves and Wooster storiesis also a splendid introduction.
Following the advice at the first link, I started with The Inimitable Jeeves and Carry on Jeeves, both of which are packed with laugh-out-loud moments and I can recommend wholeheartedly. Fine quotes include e.g.
- The Right Hon. was a tubby little chap who looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and had forgotten to say ‘When!’
- Mike nodded. A sombre nod. The nod Napoleon might have given if somebody had met him in 1812 and said, “So, you’re back from Moscow, eh?”
- It is no use telling me there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.
The stories are undoubtedly somewhat similar to one another and appear to feature a smaller cast of characters than, say, Richmal Crompton’s Just William series (of which I am also fond). So, up to now I am going for a conservative 8/10 rating. But the bumptious dimness of the “mentally negligible” Bertie Wooster and the calm brilliance of Jeeves the butler has a reassuring, satisfying rhythm and as I get stuck into the third book (Very Good, Jeeves) I am thoroughly looking forward to spending time in their company.
I look forward to revisiting the advice of Plumtopia as I move forward with the works of P G Wodehouse over the months and, possibly, years ahead (have just finished Joy in the Morning, which surely qualifies as one of the best novel titles ever). If you adore Wodehouse quotations, see my numerous reviews in the “PG Wodehouse” tab under “Categories”.
Finally, for true “Plum” aficionados, please note that Jeeves’s problem-solving abilities are a model for my very own Ms N, the world’s most brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager, in my own comic writing, Seven Hotel Stories. Enjoy!
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