P.G. Wodehouse – the Man and his Work

Great War Fiction

The P.G. Wodehouse exhibition at the British Library that I mentioned a few weeks ago is now happily in place, and Marion and I visited while in London earlier this week.

It is a fairly small affair, in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures of the British Libraryroom. The last exhibit I saw in that space was devoted to Karl Marx. The Wodehouse one is cheerier. It is a sample of the manuscripts and other items recently sent to the Library by the Cazalet family (on permanent loan, I think).

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7 thoughts on “P.G. Wodehouse – the Man and his Work

    1. Yes, you’re quite right about that, Dr Tanya. Wodehouse worked very hard to make his work seemingly light and fluffy.

      Alas, I have not been able to get to the exhibition in person either. This report is re-blogged from George Simmers (his blog is called Great War Fiction, and often includes interesting posts about Wodehouse).


  1. I remarked on George’s blog that this exhibition and the impending stone at Westminster Abbey, coming as they do almost simultaneously, represent the final rehabilitation of PGW, by the Establishment a least, after his wartime indiscretion. The library’s catalogue includes some documents about that unfortunate event that I should like someone on the spot to examine as I think they might cast more light on the problem of what Plum was thinking (or not) at the time. The library’s bureaucracy (which I misread) defeated me when I was there in October. But I did visit Poet’s Corner — I’ll get round to blogging something on that very soon.

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    1. I look forward to that Noel.

      I believe Robert McCrum goes over some of this ground in his biography. My understanding is that Wodehouse wanted to speak out about what happened at the time, but was advised (by whom, I can’t recall) to say nothing more about it. He took that advice.


      1. It was Leonora’s sister-in-law, Thelma Cazalet-Keir MP, who advised PGW not to bare his soul. This was, based on my experience over many years, very sound advice. From her seat in Parliament, she knew the storm that would have broken over his head, whatever he said. He would have been torn apart. Think about how PGW wrote and spoke — after nearly half a century perfecting his style he could not have changed, even if he’d tried. This would have been easily lampooned, and as we have seen from Fleet Street they take no prisoners. The lies PGW wanted to expose would have been entirely swamped by the invective. I would like to see whatever is in the file to get an idea of the internal family debate that McCrum says raged at the time.It’s a shame PGW could not return to England, mainly because of the suppression of the judicial reports, but the alternative, in my view, was worse.

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