Honeysuckle Cottage by Wodehouse: an antidote to Valentine slush and nonsense

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. From ‘Honeysuckle Cottage’ This firm opinion belongs to mystery writer James Rodman, a cousin of Mr Mulliner. But then he inherits Honeysuckle Cottage from his Aunt, the romance novelist Leila J. Pinckney , and her house begins to exert a sinister romantic influence over him. First, … Continue reading Honeysuckle Cottage by Wodehouse: an antidote to Valentine slush and nonsense

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On this day: P.G. Wodehouse died 14 February 1975

P.G Wodehouse had double citizenship, British and American. He became Sir Pelham Wodehouse at the age of ninety-three, receiving a knighthood in the 1975 New Year’s Honours list. A month and a half later he died, of a heart attack, in a hospital on Long Island, near his home in Remsenburg. He was sitting in a chair, with a three-quarters-finished new Blandings novel in typescript and autograph notes around him. He had gone into hospital for tests to establish a cause, and indicate a cure, for a troublesome skin rash. He had been working right to the end. Richard Usborne … Continue reading On this day: P.G. Wodehouse died 14 February 1975

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The Truth About George

I asked my eight year old daughter to share her favourite Wodehouse romance and, after much umming and ahhhhing, she chose ‘The Truth About George’. In this short story (from Meet Mr. Mulliner) Mr Mulliner recounts the ordeal of his nephew George Mulliner, who must overcome his stammer in order to declare his love for Susan Blake. Many Wodehouse couples are brought together through a common interest  — it might be golf, Tennyson’s poems, or a shared love of mystery novels, for ‘there is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature’ (‘Strychnine in the Soup’). … Continue reading The Truth About George

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Wodehouse and Wittgenstein

Originally posted on Great War Fiction:
During my Dornford Yates talk at the Newcastle Great War and Popular Culture conference earlier this year, I got an unexpected laugh (as well as some chuckles I’d planned for). It was when I quoted Wittgenstein saying: “I couldn’t understand the humour in Journey’s End.… I wouldn’t want to joke about a situation like that.” I suppose people thought I was having a dig at humourless Teutons, or over-serious philosophers, but I didn’t intend this, actually. In fact, Wittgenstein seems to have had a serviceable enough sense of humour when not in his most… Continue reading Wodehouse and Wittgenstein

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Meet Mr. Mulliner

Originally posted on The Grand Reviewer:
Meet Mr. Mulliner, a local fisherman and popular visitor of the pub, the Angler’s Rest, where he shares the almost unbelievable escapades of various members of the Mulliner family tree. From George the stammerer, who overcomes his stammer so he can marry the crossword-loving love of his life, to Augustine the curate, who after drinking some Buck-U-Uppo becomes a fearless aid to a bishop, to James the author, who finds his bachelorhood threatened by the sappy romance of his aunt’s novels, each tale in the collection shows how the Mulliners face adversity in the… Continue reading Meet Mr. Mulliner

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