P.G. Wodehouse reading list: the Blandings stories

Lord Emsworth breathed heavily. He had not supposed that in these degenerate days a family like this existed. The sister copped Angus McAllister on the shin with stones, the brother bit Constance in the leg . . . It was like listening to some grand saga of the exploits of heroes and demigods. ‘Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend’ (Blandings Castle) This is a guide for readers wanting to discover the joys of P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings series. It follows previous guides: A Wodehouse Reading Guide (with suggestions for new readers); and A reading list for the Jeeves and Wooster stories. … Continue reading P.G. Wodehouse reading list: the Blandings stories

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The birth of P.G. Wodehouse and Sherlock Holmes

PGW quoted this famous character from his third book up to his ninety-third and had a tremendous admiration for Arthur Conan Doyle. N.T.P. Murphy, A Wodehouse Handbook On the 15th of October, 1881, P.G. Wodehouse was born in Guildford , England. Coincidentally, 1881 was also the year in which Dr. John Watson first met Sherlock Holmes. Their meeting was recounted by Arthur Conan Doyle in the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet (1887). Some years later, the young Wodehouse became an avid reader of these stories, and his early work is littered with Holmesian references.  In The Adventure … Continue reading The birth of P.G. Wodehouse and Sherlock Holmes

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Moments when one needs a drink (Barmy in Wonderland)

‘There are moments when one needs a drink. Are there moments, indeed, when one doesn’t?’ So says Mervyn Potter, Hollywood heart-throb, who leads poor Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps astray in Barmy in Wonderland (1952). But before you start quoting these sentiments as the views of the author himself, have look at what happens to the frequently pie-eyed Mervyn. In Chapter One, he gets blotto, burns down a hotel bungalow, and induces Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps (a hotel employee) to slip a frog into his employer’s bedroom. In Chapter Five, Mervyn is already soaked when Barmy arrives at his house (for a dinner he never … Continue reading Moments when one needs a drink (Barmy in Wonderland)

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A matter of style: Wodehouse and the modern rules of writing.

“I am no stranger to butterfly belly. A man who has had to pass himself off as Gussie Fink-Nottle to four aunts in a chilly Hampshire dining room with only orange juice in the carburettor knows the meaning of fear.” Jeeves and the Wedding Bells Sebastian Faulks presumably knows the feeling pretty well too. As the author of Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, Faulks has risked the ire of Wodehouse fans (already disgrunted after the BBC Blandings fiasco) and potentially his own reputation as a writer. For one of the problems with imitating Wodehouse in the 21st Century is that … Continue reading A matter of style: Wodehouse and the modern rules of writing.

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The desert island pickings of a quadragenarian

Henry glanced hastily at the mirror. Yes, he did look rather old. He must have overdone some of the lines on his forehead. He looked something between a youngish centenarian and a nonagenarian who had seen a good deal of trouble. The Man with Two Left Feet (1917) I feel much like Henry did, as I glance in the mirror to inspect the remains of my former self on the eve of what I’ll just call a ‘significant’ birthday.  But I shall resist the urge to impersonate the great Russian novelists, and reflect instead upon some of my favourite Wodehouse … Continue reading The desert island pickings of a quadragenarian

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