Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Author! Author! 2: P.G. Wodehouse

Lets get the shameless plugging out of the way first. OMPADC is here.

Now that the shameless self promotion is out of the way. Let us move on to more serious matters. Namely the next name to join Alan Bennett in MFWE (for those who don't remember, this stands for My Favourite Writers Ever).

The next name to join this list (yes it is a list now there is more than one person, I asked someone) is the delightfully named Pelham Grenville Wodehouse or P.G. to his friends. Although, many would think this would lead to confusion with tea makers P.G. Tips it doesn't, Mr Wodehouse was never pyramid shaped nor advertised by chimpanzees. At least, not to my knowledge.

"The Aberdeen terrier gave me an unpleasant look and said something under his breath in Gaelic"

Wodehouse is perhaps best known for his series of books featuring errant foppish fool Bertie Wooster and his personal gentleman's gentleman, Jeeves. It was reading these that first put me on to Wodehouse's writing. To me, old Pelham, is one of the finest and funniest comic writers of the 20th Century. Many comedy types, including the wonderful Stephen Fry (more on him at a later date) and his equally good friend Hugh Laurie (both of whom have appeared in an adaptation of the man's work) have cited the works as being lifesaving and as containing some of the greatest examples of comic literature.

One of these is the brilliant sequence at the Market Snodsbury Prize giving with an inebriated Gussie Fink-Nottle giving prizes to schoolboys and throwing various accusations of cheating around. Something that really has to be read to be fully appreciated. I strongly urge anyone who hasn't done so already to do read it. Failing that you should also see the brilliant Fry & Laurie (told you they would reappear) staring adaptation of the Jeeves & Wooster books.

However P.G. didn't just do Jeeves & Wooster he had a whole variety of other characters, which would occasionally crop up or be at the very least be mentioned in each others books. These are no less funny than the Jeeves series and are also good for a laugh.

I have recently started reading the Jerome K Jerome book "Three Men In A Boat" a book that many claim to be a precursor to the Wodehouse style. Personally I find this to be a lot less accessible than Wodehouse, for a full review go here.

Wodehouse critics often claim that he can't be that great a writer due to the lack of different plots across the 70+ he wrote. To a certain extent that is a largely true statement. However it is all irrelevant because what he does is write these plots and build incredible layers of intricacies and details around the plots. This creates such high levels of farce to make the book so enjoyable that you don't notice. They are simply blissfull, light reading. Which is sometimes all one can really ask for in this world.

Before this goes on much longer I shall finish and advise you to take some time to read Wodehouse. If you want to have a book of pure enjoyment, read some Wodehouse.


  1. ook, link! thanks. i bet picking a Wodehouse was really hard. practically every sentence you read of his could be quoted.

  2. "'Tinkerty Tonk,' I said and I meant it to sting." I love that man.