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Reading Wodehouse: a plea for help

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I need help.

I need help from Wodehouse experts, or Kenner as we call them here in Austria.

For years, I have been relishing my father’s Folio Society collection of Jeeves and Wooster stories.  I have so far read 14 of them, as reported in my blogs Aunts aren’t gentlemen – 10 quotations, Jeeves and the feudal spirit: 20 delicious quotations, and Right ho, Jeeves – 14 fruity quotations (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).

When I started reading Wodehouse, as reported in my blog How to read P G Wodehouse: a practical guide, I received invaluable practical advice from top Wodehouse specialist Plumtopia.  I recommend her.

I have now reached the final boxed set of my father’s collection, which I find comprises six volumes set at Blandings Castle: Summer Lightning (1929); Heavy Weather (1933); Uncle Fred in the Springtime (1939); Full Moon (1947); Pigs Have Wings (1952); and Service with a Smile (1961).

The cover of my Folio Society edition of “Summer Lightning”

My problems are:

(i) the unique nature of the Folio Society website (to put it politely) makes it impossible for me to know whether the books in my collection are the complete P G Wodehouse Folio Society production, or not (NB leaving aside “The Plums of Wodehouse” which, as a compendium, does not really count);

My Folio Society edition of”The Plums of P.G. Wodehouse”

(ii) nor am I clear whether the collection of six Blandings books in my box is the complete set of Blandings novels, or not;

(iii) have I – *voice sinks to panic-stricken sob* – finished the Jeeves and Wooster stories?  I fear so, judging from the guidance – again – on Plumtopia;

(iv) when I have completed reading these six Blandings masterpieces (reports to follow) I will have no more Wodehouse to peruse (I hear a sharp intake of breath from Wodehouse lovers everywhere).  But I am conscious that there is a wealth of unread excellence still out there, including characters such as Psmith.  Where should I start?

(v) finally, I note from a dip into the internet that some characters who feature in Jeeves and Wooster novels, such as noted brain specialist Sir Roderick Glossop, occasionally visit Blandings.  Am I right in assuming, however, that Jeeves and Wooster themselves do not know the address?

Help, please!

P.S. You can see all my Wodehouse-related blogs at my “Category Archives: PG Wodehouse“.  Wodehouse fanatics – enjoy and share!

P.P.S.  If you enjoy fresh, original writing, feel free to like or follow me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see blue “click here” button).  You can explore the range of writing on this site via my five pleasure paths.

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11 Comments

  1. I recommend you seek out the short story collections. Ukridge, Mr Mulliner and the Oldest Member will delight. So will the Drones stories, as well as many more Jeeves and Wooster and Blandings stories. Two absolute classic short stories within the novel cycles you’re reading are Crime Wave at Blandings and The Great Sermon Handicap. I could go on but them you’d miss all the fun of researching the title on the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wolfgang Tumler says:

    robert, i dont quite understand if there is a real interesting problem about woodhouse, your father and yourself that u want people to share or if u r just leading us into your blossoming garden of writing…if there truly is something about mysteries in english literature that u want to disclose or discuss, , i would recommend my brother tilman, 79, who has taught english language and literature in a famous traditional vienna gymnasium for decades. he at the time was so fond of english literature that only after retiering from his work he started to study some german speaking literature…

    >

    Like

  3. honoria plum says:

    Reblogged this on Plumtopia and commented:
    What Ho, Wodehouse fans,
    Robert Pimm needs your help. Does he have a complete set of the Folio Society Wodehouse? And what should he read when he’s finished them?
    I’ll post my thoughts, once I’ve gathered them, but I know you’ll have some good advice on these important questions.
    Pip Pip
    HP

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stefan Nilsson says:

    I have no idea about the folio society books. I do have a good idea about Wodehouse in general, though. You are obviously already a fan so there is no need to start light with you. I recommend that you simply check the bibliography on the Madame Eulalie Web site. Being a fan you can start from the beginning, chronologically, and watch the authorship develop as you read. A word of caution, though: the early stories are mostly school stories for the first couple of books and then it’s non-typical stuff for another couple of books until Wodehouse finds his style. Some of the early short stories are more like O. Henry than Wodehouse, but they’re not bad. The school stories aren’t bad, either, they’re just not in the same style as you’re used to and if you think they’re the same as Jeeves stories you will be disappointed.
    If you don’t want to read chronologically, just cross of all the books you’ve read and set out to get the next.
    Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ted Fontenot says:

    Wikipedia has extensive, multiple entries on Wodehouse and the works of PGW, as well as the characters in those works, including a chronological bibliography.

    The only works I recommend reading in order of publication are the two main series, the Jeeves-Wooster and Blandings series. For the others, read the best first.

    (And in a novel, Bertie makes a specific reference to Blandings Castle and, I think, Freddie Threepwood and Lord Emsworth. Also, if I’m not mistaken, Bertie and Galahad Threepwood both reside at the same apartment/condominium complex.)

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  6. Ted Fontenot says:

    Found it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._G._Wodehouse_locations#Berkeley_Mansions

    “Berkeley Mansions, Berkeley Square, London W1, is a fictional residential building in the Jeeves stories, being the residence of Bertie Wooster. In an early story, Bertie lives at 6A, Crichton Mansions, Berkeley Street, W.[1] but is later residing at Berkeley Mansions in Thank You, Jeeves, though he is obliged to leave after making noise with his banjolele.[2] Bertie apparently returns to the building, as he is residing in Berkeley Mansions in the later novel The Code of the Woosters[3] and specifies that he lives in 3A Berkeley Mansions in Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit.[4] In ‘A Pelican at Blandings’, Galahad Threepwood returns to Berkeley Mansions, it being his home now that he is no longer financially embarrassed.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. honoria plum says:

    What Ho, Robert.
    It looks like you’ve had some good advice here. My draft response has become long enough to make a blog piece in itself, and is still a long way from finished, so as a holding reply I’d suggest the following.

    Check your Folio Society set against the full list of Jeeves and Blandings titles to see what might be missing. Even if you have a complete set of the novels in each series, it may not include all of the short stories Wodehouse wrote about these characters — he was a masterful and prolific short story writer. I’ve attempted to collate this information, including details of volumes containing the short stories, in the pieces below:

    https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/p-g-wodehouse-reading-list-the-jeeves-and-wooster-stories/
    and
    https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/p-g-wodehouse-reading-list-the-blandings-stories/

    There are many directions your Wodehouse reading might take after you’ve finished. Psmith is a good idea, because the final book in the series, Leave it to Psmith, is set at Blandings. You will also encounter ‘Uncle Fred’ in the Blandings series. He is another firm favourite with Wodehouse fans, and PGW wrote more about him also.

    Or, if you want to approach the task chronologcally, you could start with Wodehouse’s early work — school stories for boys. Not everyone is a fan of them (they are not Jeeves stories, to be sure) although personally I enjoy them. Here’s a list I’ve put together:
    https://honoriaplum.wordpress.com/?s=school+stories

    I must also put in a good word for the Mr Mulliner short stories, which I probably return to more than any other series for a burst of bliss in these troubling times.

    Happy reading!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Robert Pimm says:

      What ho, Honoraria! Great to hear from you over there on the other side of the world. I look forward to seeing your finished version of the advice and will be happy to re-post or otherwise publicise it. We Wodehouse fanatics must stick together! I am enormously enjoying “Summer Lightning” and will review it in due course. I’m also having a go at promoting my “Hotel Stories”, and have just published a supplemental blog with that goal.

      I’d never heard of the Mr Mulliner short stories – a burst of bliss sounds just what I need.

      Thanks again for the contact and happy reading yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

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