Wednesday, August 3, 2005

'How Right You Are, Jeeves'

“In his creation of Jeeves [P. G. Wodehouse] has done something which may respectfully be compared to the work of the Almighty in Michelangelo’s painting. He has forged a man filled with the breath of life.” - Hilaire Belloc

Fans of P. G. Wodehouse are an avid breed who always welcome new converts to the canon. I’ve been thumbing through his books trying to find quotes that show how funny he is, but it’s hard to take his dialogues out of context and keep the flavor of the exchange. There are also many websites about P. G. (“Plum” to his friends) and his “bon mots” are included in many books of quotations. “If not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.” “The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.” “Has anybody ever seen a drama critic in the daytime? Of course not. They come out after dark, up to no good.”

His humor can make you laugh out loud and definitely makes you want to read it aloud to anyone in the room with you while you are reading. And it is very frustrating if that person isn’t also a fan. So the best thing to do is to just get one of his books and start reading.

Wodehouse books can be roughly described as being in series (sort of) featuring different characters in each series or locale. There are the famous Jeeves and Wooster books and stories starring a dimwitted and idle young man and his omniscient gentleman’s gentleman (not really a butler) Jeeves. There are the Blandings Castle books featuring another dimwitted upper-crust type, Lord Emsworth and his beloved, prize-winning pig, The Empress of Blandings. There are the stories that the garrulous Mr. Mulliner tells at the local pub. Wodehouse wrote almost one hundred books, enough to keep the die-hard fans reading and re-reading and generally off the streets and out of trouble.

Here is what the actor, Stephen Frye, who played Jeeves in the T.V. version of ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ says about Wodehouse. Hugh Laurie (currently in the T.V. series ‘House’) who played Bertie Wooster wrote this, falling into a sort of P.G. style of expression.

If you need an escape and a dose of laughter, and who doesn't, pick up Wodehouse ASAP and dive in!

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