Robert Pimm

Home » Reviews » How to read P G Wodehouse: a practical guide

How to read P G Wodehouse: a practical guide

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?

Pondering this problem, I was delighted to come across fellow WordPress blogger Plumtopia, who specialises in the works of P G Wodehouse.  I discovered two invaluable articles:

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.

Indeed, Jeeves’s problem-solving abilities remind me of my very own Ms N, the world’s most brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager, in The Hotel Stories.

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.

P.S. if you fancy trying another brilliant author, see my review Trollope: 11 reasons to read him 10/10.

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3 Comments

  1. honoria plum says:

    What Ho, Robert!
    It was very kind of you to mention Plumtopia. I’m chuffed! I’m glad to have found your blog too — I can see there is much for me to enjoy here.
    I take your point about the similarities in some of the Jeeves stories (some were rewritten and appear in more than one collection). Most of the remaining instalments are novels so you won’t find this quite so much. I do hope you also have a chance to try some of Wodehouse’s non-Jeeves stories. Everyone has their favourites — I’d suggest Something Fresh, Ukridge, or Leave it Psmith.
    Thanks again,
    Honoria

    Like

  2. susannahkc says:

    I expect to inherit a set of Wodehouse too (not anytime soon, I hope) – though in a less handsome edition, and am glad to be reminded of the pleasure of re-reading him that await.

    Like

  3. eva Marinter says:

    Vor langer Zeit, als ich mit meiner Familie in London lebte, entdeckte ich ohne Hinweis(!) wodehouse und war sofort begeistert – kaufte alles in Paperback – damals 50p und finde es grossartig, dass es jetzt eine folio-Ausgabe gibt und dass diese im Besitz eines wirklichen Kenners ist. Ich vermute, dass die satirischen Werke eines österreichischen Autors nicht in einer handgefertigten Ausgabe erscheinen würden.

    Like

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