P.G. Wodehouse, b. 1881. I’ve blogged about Wodehouse before, most notably here. I added Wodehouse to the syllabus for my British literature class next spring just because I want to find one more kindred spirit who laughs out loud at Bertie and Jeeves. Eldest Daughter already shares my appreciation for Wodehouse. If you want to laugh and feel “velly English”, read something by Wodehouse. It doesn’t really matter which Jeeves book you read; they all have approximately the same plot. Bertie, a somewhat dim bulb of an aristocrat, gets himself into a pickle usually involving a young woman and an aunt or two, and his manservant, Jeeves, gets him out. It’s not the plot exactly, although the situations Bertie gets into are funny in or of themselves; it’s the dialog and Bertie’s observations on life and love, and Jeeves’ observations on Bertie, and the silly characters they get mixed up with.
The Whole Jolly Lot: In P.G. Wodehouse’s World, Things Are Tiptop And Topsy-Turvy. Just Ask His Biographer by Bob Thompson, Washington Post
George Orwell in Defense of P.G. Wodehouse Wodehouse was interned by the Germans at the beginning of WW II, and in exchange for being released or because he was released and though he owed them something or just because he liked to talk, he agreed to do some broadcasts over German radio. He said a lot of stuff in these broadcasts, but part of what he said was that he didn’t really care who won the war and that he thought the Germans had treated him well during the time he was imprisoned. The reaction in England to these radio broadcasts was to make Wodehouse hugely unpopular. The link is to George Orwell’s 1946 defense of Wodehouse. Orwell basically says what everybody else who defends Wodehouse’s action says: Wodehouse knew next to nothing about politics, and he had no idea that anything he said would be used by the Nazis for the purposes of propaganda.
Enjoy the books; forget the politics.