Jeeves & Wooster centenary: Extricating Young Gussie

Hot on the heels of the Blandings centenary in June comes the 100th anniversary of P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster and Reginald Jeeves. The characters first appeared together in the story ‘Extricating Young Gussie’, published in September 1915 in the Saturday Evening Post. The centenary has been commemorated with a flurry of articles (try What ho! Celebrating 100 years of Bertie, Jeeves and Blandings by Aparna Narrain). But in spite of praise for Wodehouse and his beloved duo, who made their final appearance in 1974’s Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, ‘Extricating Young Gussie’ continues to hide it’s light under a bushel. If indeed that’s what … Continue reading Jeeves & Wooster centenary: Extricating Young Gussie

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Introducing Jeeves: saviour or snake?

Meet Jeeves, the world’s most famous valet and P.G. Wodehouse’s best known character. The name Jeeves has come to symbolise the epitome of efficient service to millions who’ve never even read Wodehouse. Among fans, he is spoken of with a reverence usually reserved for deities. And how many of us have wished for a Jeeves in our lives? But is this rosy view of Jeeves as Bertie Wooster’s domestic saviour justified, when so often it is Jeeves who contrives the situations from which Bertie must be rescued? Nor is his support lacking in self-interest. In Wodehouse’s idyllic world, is Jeeves … Continue reading Introducing Jeeves: saviour or snake?

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The romances of Bingo Little: Honoria Glossop

‘The only one of the family I really know is the girl.’ I had hardly spoken these words when the most extraordinary change came over young Bingo’s face. His eyes bulged, his cheeks flushed, and his Adam’s apple hopped about like one of those india-rubber balls on the top of the fountain in a shooting gallery. ‘Oh, Bertie!’ he said, in a strangled sort of voice. I looked at the poor fish anxiously. I knew that he was always falling in love with someone, but it didn’t seem possible that even he could have fallen in love with Honoria Glossop. … Continue reading The romances of Bingo Little: Honoria Glossop

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Perfect Nonsense

In December, I had the delightful privilege of seeing Perfect Nonsense on tour at the Theatre Royal in Bath. For anyone not already aware, Perfect Nonsense is a stage adaptation (by David and Robert Goodale) of The Code of the Woosters. It’s been well received by West End audiences since opening in 2013, and is now touring the UK until mid-2015 (see the official site for details). If you’re planning to see the show and don’t want to read my review, look away now.   The Goodale brothers’ clever adaptation sticks closely to Wodehouse’s original story and delicious dialogue, ensuring a … Continue reading Perfect Nonsense

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Jeeves and Worcestershire

Originally posted on The Book Cook:
When I was a young girl, I would watch my dad laughing out loud as he read P.G. Wodehouse. Wanting to be in on the joke, I would flip through the pages of the Jeeves and Wooster stories, laughing out loud in imitation even though I didn’t understand what was going on. As I got older and both my love of literature and sense of humor developed, my enjoyment of the books became authentic. Wodehouse’s writing style is light and his character descriptions are hilarious, and because of that, Jeeves and Wooster have long been my… Continue reading Jeeves and Worcestershire

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Getting started with Bertie and Jeeves: a chronological challenge

New Wodehouse readers sometimes ask which of the Jeeves stories they should read first. Opinion on the matter is divided; some people recommend ‘Carry On, Jeeves’ (1925) whereas I suggest ‘The Inimitable Jeeves’ (1923). Both are excellent. The question is a matter of chronology.  This piece explores these starting points in more detail. Readers looking for a more complete reading list, with suggestions for getting started, may find this reading list for the Jeeves and Bertie Wooster stories helpful. Beginning with ‘Carry On, Jeeves’ Carry On Jeeves (1925) is a collection of short stories, beginning with ‘Jeeves Takes Charge’, in which … Continue reading Getting started with Bertie and Jeeves: a chronological challenge

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The Romances of Bingo Little: Mabel

I confess I have a soft spot for the romantic Bingo Little. When we first meet him in The Inimitable Jeeves,  Bertie warns us about his habit of falling in love. Ever since I have known him – and we were at school together – he has been perpetually falling in love with someone, generally in the spring, which seems to act on him like magic. At school he had the finest collection of actresses’ photographs of anyone of his time; and at Oxford his romantic nature was a byword. The first of Bingo’s romances to be chronicled by Bertram Wooster … Continue reading The Romances of Bingo Little: Mabel

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The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)

I’m not much of a ladies’ man, but on this particular morning it seemed to me that what I really wanted was some charming girl to buzz up and ask me to save her from assassins or something. So that it was a bit of an anti-climax when I merely ran into young Bingo Little, looking perfectly foul in a crimson satin tie decorated with horseshoes. The Inimitable Jeeves is a great place for new Wodehouse readers to discover Wodehouse’s best known characters, Bertie Wooster and his valet (or gentleman’s gentleman) Jeeves. Although it doesn’t include the first Jeeves and … Continue reading The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)

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Wodehouse and Tennyson

When Bertie Wooster is brimming with joy on a fine spring morning in The Inimitable Jeeves, he says: ‘In the spring, Jeeves, a livelier iris gleams upon the burnished dove.’ It is one of many Wodehouse references to the works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (from the poem Locksley Hall). In Right Ho, Jeeves, Aunt Dahlia finds a bound volume of Tennyson just the thing for flinging at nephews, and although Bertie claims not to read Tennyson by choice, he is familiar enough with Tennyson’s stuff to quote him often. The following lines from Tennyson’s In memoriam, for example, will be … Continue reading Wodehouse and Tennyson

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Wodehouse and the stuffed eel-skin of Fate

Bertie Wooster once said: I’m not absolutely certain of my facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare who says that it’s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping. Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest So it was in February; I was sitting happily at my keyboard, brow furrowed with concentration as I worked on a delightful series of blog pieces on the theme of Wodehouse and love, in anticipation of Valentine’s day – the anniversary of Wodehouse’s death. The first three chapters of … Continue reading Wodehouse and the stuffed eel-skin of Fate

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