Wodehouse and the Romantic Novelist (Sophie Weston)

wodehouse romances

As you know, each February Plumtopia muses upon the romances of P.G. Wodehouse to mark the anniversary of his death on St Valentine’s Day 1975. This year, I’m on a quest to discover your favourite couples from the world of Wodehouse romance. Please help me by sharing your favourites via Plumtopia, Facebook and Twitter.

And while we’re on the subject of romance,  I’d like to draw your attention to a couple of recent pieces by romance writer and LibertaBooks blogger, Sophie Weston. Sophie clearly knows her stuff — about the romance genre, as well as Wodehouse

In PGW and the Romantic Novelist, Sophie ponders whether Wodehouse was ‘…out of sympathy with the romantic novelist.’ It’s an interesting question, and Sophie’s response is well worth reading and discussing further. Before reading it, I had always considered Wodehouse as a writer of romances, without considering whether readers and writers of the romance genre would classify him the same way.

Sophie Weston’s fun follow-up piece, Rosie M Banks Interview, lets Rosie M Banks answer the question of whether Wodehouse was ‘specially unkind to romantic novelists’.

As a reader, I’ve always had more affinity for Wodehouse’s fictional mystery writer James Rodman than any of his romance novelists.

He held rigid views on the art of the novel, and always maintained that an artist with a true reverence for his craft should not descend to goo-ey love stories, but should stick austerely to revolvers, cries in the night, missing papers, mysterious Chinamen, and dead bodies — with or without gash in throat.

Honeysuckle Cottage (Meet Mr Mulliner)

When I’m not curled up with Wodehouse’s latest, I generally read classic cloak and dagger adventures or non-fiction. However, Sophie Weston is one of several romance writers I’m aware of who have a strong appreciation for Wodehouse, which makes me curious to re-examine my ideas about the genre and explore it again as a reader. I’m starting to suspect there’s some good stuff I’m missing out on.

Happy reading!


7 thoughts on “Wodehouse and the Romantic Novelist (Sophie Weston)

  1. I have a feeling that when he makes fun of romantic novelists, he is indulging in his favourite hobby – a self derogatory reference. Not for him the gooey slushy romantic escapades etched out by many others who excel in that genre. Perhaps the closest he gets to physical intimacy is when a character showers the upturned face of his beloved with burning kisses!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Many thanks, Honoria. I shall ponder your challenge and respond after consideration.

    Of course, if you were to ask me which couple are the best suited, I would have to say Madeleine Bassett and Roderick Spode. Speaking as a practising romantic novelist, however, I cannot foresee a Happy Ever After there. Given his temperament, not to mention his dark secret, and her relentlessly soupy approach to love, life and men, I imagine that blackmail, domestic violence, estrangement and murder are the more likely upshot of that union.

    Of course, someone could get a rattling good murder mystery out of that. Myself, I reckon that the Bassett has unplumbed depths of repressed violence.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. La Bassett may have had some high ideals and funny ideas, but she and Gussie were a well matched pair for the most part. After all, he was no great catch — both soupy, drippy and droopy to the eyeballs.

        Although I cannot abide her (and she was quite wrong to attempt to edit Gussie’s diet), I do feel she drew the fictional short straw with Spode. Perhaps PGW felt that under her influence, the worst excesses of his character might be softened. Let’s face it, he could do with all the softening he can get.


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