A Centenary of A Damsel in Distress

‘I’ve a headache.’‘I thought you would have, laddie, when I saw you getting away with the liquid last night. An X-ray photograph of your liver would show something that looked like a crumpled oak-leaf studded with hob-nails. You ought to take more exercise, dear heart. Except for sloshing that policeman, you haven’t done anything athletic for years.’ A Damsel in Distress A Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse was first published in the USA on 4 October 1919, having previously been serialised in the Saturday Evening Post in May-June of the same year. The first UK edition was published on … Continue reading A Centenary of A Damsel in Distress

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A Damsel in Distress in Chichester

‘How’s the show going?’ ‘It’s a riot. They think it will run two years in London. As far as I can make it out you don’t call it a success in London unless you can take your grandchildren to see the thousandth night.’ A Damsel in Distress (1919) To celebrate the recent anniversay of the first Blandings novel, I visited the charming town of Chichester to see a new stage musical adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s A Damsel in Distress. This story first appeared as a serial in the ‘Saturday Evening Post’ in 1919, and was published in book form later … Continue reading A Damsel in Distress in Chichester

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A visit to P G Wodehouse’s Emsworth

This summer I visited the Hampshire town of Emsworth, where P.G Wodehouse once lived. He first arrived at the invitation of Herbert Westbrook, who was teaching at Emsworth House School. Westbrook is described in Sophie Ratcliffe’s ‘P.G.Wodehouse, A Life in Letters’ as “handsome, charismatic, and permanently broke.” He is forever associated in my mind with the character Ukridge and, for some reason, the novel I most associate with Emsworth is Love Among the Chickens (1906). Wodehouse lived for a time at Emsworth House School, run by Baldwin King-Hall and his sister Ella. The school is mentioned in Mike (1909) and … Continue reading A visit to P G Wodehouse’s Emsworth

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Wodehouse’s Birthday and the Chicago Caper

What Ho again, Plum lovers. It has been an especially glorious summer, right out of the pages of Blandings, and I’ve taken the opportunity to whiz about the countryside, capturing the atmosphere of Wodehouse’s England. I’ve visited Plum’s Emsworth in Hampshire and explored Bertie Wooster’s London (in one of the last tours given by Wodehouse expert, Norman Murphy). I also visited towns where Wodehouse’s parents lived, Cheltenham and Bexhill-on-Sea. The latter is affectionately remembered by Goons Show fans as the home of The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler. I’ll have more to share over the coming winter as I knuckle down … Continue reading Wodehouse’s Birthday and the Chicago Caper

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What P. G. Wodehouse learned from Macbeth

Originally posted on EMSWORTH:
It would be a joy to read Wodehouse even if his stories didn’t have more ingenious poetic allusions than there are stars in the sky. On the latest of our many happy passes through The Code of the Woosters — perhaps the very best of the Jeeves and Wooster novels — we started taking inventory. Wodehouse starts with a taste of Keats on the very first page, as Jeeves tells Bertie Wooster, “There is a fog, sir. If you will recollect, we are now in Autumn — season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” A few pages… Continue reading What P. G. Wodehouse learned from Macbeth

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Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen

A response to the critic Emsworth Emsworth, that worthy critic with an equally worthy name, suggests “P.G. Wodehouse had hung on too long when he wrote The Cat-Nappers“ – The Cat-Nappers being an alias for the work known to British readers as Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen. Emsworth provides some good evidence that this 1974 work of a nonagenarian is not Wodehouse at his finest.  For those unacquainted with Emsworth’s excellent piece, I suggest reading it for yourself.  When my considered response (however unqualified I am to make it)  ran to half a page, I decided to post it here instead. Wodehouse … Continue reading Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen

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