The Hapless Rozzers in Plumsville

honoria plum:

An excellent study of Plums’ Rozzers from the talented Ashokbhatia. Not to be missed!

Originally posted on ashokbhatia:

In quite a few memoirs of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, we are treated to an exquisite insight into the way the long arm of the law works.

One is not referring here to the stern looking beaks who sit in a Court of Law, eyeing Bertie Wooster or any of his friends censoriously over their well-polished pince-nez while dishing out sentences without the option.

Instead, one alludes here to the humble constabulary which ensures that the laws in force are rigorously implemented without a flaw on their personal reputation and character. While tracking down criminals, they spare no effort. It is their upright and proper conduct which upholds the might of the Law. They are invariably meticulous in their approach. They show due respect to the gentler sex, unless they have direct evidence to the contrary. Even defaulters of the canine kind do not escape their fury.

When it comes…

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What do Wodehouse lovers read when not reading Wodehouse?

“You are evidently fond of mystery plays.”

“I love them.”

“So do I. And mystery novels?”

“Oh, yes!”

“Have you read Blood on the Banisters?”

“Oh, yes! I thought it was much better than Severed Throats.”

“So did I,” said Cyril. “Much better. Brighter murders, subtler detectives, crisper clues … better in every way.”

The two twin souls gazed into each other’s eyes. There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.

P G Wodehouse (‘Strychnine in the Soup’ in Mulliner Nights)

I recently asked the ‘Fans of P G Wodehouse’ Facebook community about their favourite authors – who they like to read when not curled up with Plum’s latest. The response was a staggering 370 comments (and counting) listing over 250 different authors. I’ve collated the replies and can now reveal the top 25 authors these Wodehouse lovers named as their favourites. I start today with the top 5.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Seven_Dials_Mystery_First_Edition_Cover_1929.jpg1. Agatha Christie

Christie and Wodehouse had much in common: they were contemporaries, prolific writers, and masters of their respective genres with huge audiences for their work. They both had problems with income tax, and were embroiled in personal scandals that continue to attract media speculation long after their deaths. In their lifetimes they were mutual fans, and Agatha Christie dedicated her 1969 Poirot novel  Hallowe’en Party:

“To P. G. Wodehouse — whose books and stories have brightened my life for many years. Also, to show my pleasure in his having been kind enough to tell me he enjoyed my books.”

Wodehouse was an enthusiastic reader of crime stories, as Maggie Schnader discusses in her excellent piece: ‘On P.G. Wodehouse and Crime Fiction: Or, Wodehouse Writes a Thriller?’ , and Wodehouse’s plots are brimming with criminal activity – from burglary, fraud and impersonation through to assault and battery. Mickey Finns abound, and even Jeeves knows how to handle a cosh! Some of Wodehouse’s best ‘crime’ stories have been collected in a volume called Wodehouse on Crime.

With Christie and Wodehouse among the world’s most loved (and translated) writers, it’s perhaps unsurprising to see her feature so highly among Wodehouse readers.  She is certainly one of my favourites.

2. Douglas Adams

People sometimes say to me, “Do you ever aspire to write a serious book?” And my practiced glib answer to that is, “No, my aspirations are much greater than that. I aspire to write like P.G. Wodehouse.”        (Writing like P.G. Wodehouse)

Douglas Adams was open in his admiration for Wodehouse, calling him ‘the greatest comic writer ever’, and Wodehouse’s influence is clear in his wonderfully funny style. He contributed a Foreword to a modern edition of Wodehouse’s last novel, Sunset at Blandings, which was included in ‘The Salmon of Doubt.’

Master? Great genius? Oh yes. One of the most blissful joys of the English language is the fact that one of its greatest practitioners ever, one of the guys on the very top table of all, was a jokesmith. Though maybe it shouldn’t be that big a surprise. Who else would be up there? Austen, of course, Dickens and Chaucer. The only one who couldn’t make a joke to save his life would be Shakespeare….

What Wodehouse writes is pure word music. It matters not one whit that he writes endless variations on a theme of pig kidnappings, lofty butlers, and ludicrous impostures. He is the greatest musician of the English language, and exploring variations of familiar material is what musicians do all day.

Adams’ Introduction to Sunset at Blandings

Many modern readers of Wodehouse (myself included) read Douglas Adams before we discovered Wodehouse. Some have even come to Wodehouse on the strength of Adams’ recommendations – so it’s little wonder that Adams is so highly regarded among the modern Wodehouse-loving public.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:10.12.12TerryPratchettByLuigiNovi1.jpg3. Terry Pratchett

‘Susan hated Literature. She’d much prefer to read a good book.’                Terry Pratchett (Soul Music)

Susan’s feelings on ‘Literature’ are in sympathy with views expressed by many a Wodehouse hero. As a huge Terry Pratchett fan, I was delighted to discover Pratchett is a popular author among fellow Wodehouse fans – and with good reason. There is much to enjoy in Pratchett’s wit and style, and like Wodehouse, Terry Pratchett is a superb creator of strong female characters. The following exchange ( for example) would not be out of place in Wodehouse:

“The female mind is certainly a devious one, my lord.”
Vetinari looked at his secretary in surprise. “Well, of course it is. It has to deal with the male one.”

Terry Pratchett (Unseen Academicals)

Terry Pratchett has also been a fitting winner of the Bollinger Wodehouse prize, awarded to authors who best capture the ‘comic spirit’ of Wodehouse. Many Wodehouse fans would agree!

4. Jane Austen

“It is not everyone,’ said Elinor, ‘who has your passion for dead leaves.”

 Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)

Elinor Dashwood might as easily have been speaking to Madeline Bassett, or indeed to thousands of modern females who delight in the romance of Jane Austen, but don’t ‘get’ the jokes. In a world where the commercialisation of Jane Austen has depreciated her work through ill-conceived adaptations for the soupy ‘bosoms and bonnet’ brigade, it is heart-warming to know there are still many – men and women – who read and admire Austen for her sharp, satirical humour.

Douglas Adams, in his introduction to Sunset at Blandings (cited above) also included Austen in his list of greatest writers. Oddly enough, Wodehouse wasn’t a great fan of Jane Austen. One can only presume he started with the ‘wrong’ book.

5. Jerome K. Jerome

Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/Cover_of_Jerome_K_Jerome%27s_Three_Men_in_a_Boat_%281st_ed%2C_1889%29.jpg“It would not be a good place for the heroine of a modern novel to stay at.  The heroine of a modern novel is always “divinely tall,” and she is ever “drawing herself up to her full height.”  At the “Barley Mow” she would bump her head against the ceiling each time she did this.”    Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat)

Wodehouse, who preferred his heroines pint-sized, might well have approved. He would certainly have been familiar with Jerome K. Jerome’s much-loved classic ‘Three Men and a Boat’, which was published in 1889 when young Plum was still in sailor suits. Was Wodehouse a fan? Either the record is silent on the matter, or it’s a record I couldn’t find. Experts please advise.

Three Men in a Boat is a work often cited by Wodehouse readers. I read it following a recommendation from a fellow Plum fan several years ago, and I recall attracting unwanted attention while reading it on The Tube – as my feeble attempts to suppress laughter resulted in a fit of bodily heaving and shaking. Here is a classic excerpt:

I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch – hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into – some fearful, devastating scourge, I know – and, before I had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.

I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever – read the symptoms – discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it – wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’s Dance – found, as I expected, that I had that too, – began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically – read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee.

I had walked into that reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out a decrepit wreck.

I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I’m ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going to him now. “What a doctor wants,” I said, “is practice. He shall have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each.” So I went straight up and saw him, and he said:

“Well, what’s the matter with you?”

I said:

“I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is NOT the matter with me. I have not got housemaid’s knee. Why I have not got housemaid’s knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I HAVE got.”

These five authors were the indisputable (and deserving) favourites of our group, but if you think these choices reflect rather predictable reading tastes, think again!  The reading lists of Wodehouse fans are incredibly diverse, and I look forward to sharing more with you over the coming days and weeks.

You might also like to join the ‘Fans of P G Wodehouse‘ Facebook community (which is just one of many excellent Wodehouse groups) as well our new Facebook bookclub ‘The Wood Hills Literary Society’. We look forward to meeting you.

Wodehouse and the stuffed eel-skin of Fate

Reading GalahadBertie 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 my first novel had received a nod of approval from a well-established author, and Winter was drawing to a close. Life was filled with the promise of Spring larks and snails; God was in His heaven and all was right in the world of Honoria Plum. But, as Wodehouse so often tells us: “‘what is life but a series of sharp corners, round each of which Fate lies in wait for us with a stuffed eel-skin?” (Uneasy Money).

Into my quiet, uneventful life, there entered a concatenation of circumstances – wheels within wheels – that dragged me regretfully from the keyboard and into the unpleasant realities of life.  I shudder to recall those early days of ‘the crisis’ , without a Jeeves, a Psmith, or even an efficient Baxter to aid me in my darkest hour. I’ve pulled through the worst of it now, and the future looks, if not rosy, decidedly more passable than it did just two months ago.

As ever, I owe a debt of gratitude to P.G. Wodehouse. Not for the first time, I turned to the sweetness and light of his writing to lift my spirit in troubled times. Plumtopia is alive and well!

 

Tuppy Glossop’s One True Love…

honoria plum:

Thanks so much to Fiction Fan for this excellent study of Tuppy Glossop and his ‘true love’. I find the defendant guilty!

Originally posted on FictionFan's Book Reviews:

A Valentine’s Day Tribute to PG Wodehouse…

right ho jeevesAll dedicated Jeeves followers know that, amidst all the sundered hearts and star-crossed lovers, one thing can be counted on throughout – Tuppy Glossop’s one true love is Aunt Dahlia’s only child, Angela.

Or is she? I beg to put forward another hypothesis for your consideration. My evidence is taken from Right Ho, Jeeves – the book which lets us see the Angela/Tuppy relationship most intimately, and I think when the facts are presented to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you too will draw the conclusion that Tuppy’s heart belongs firmly to Another.

* * * * * * * * *

First let’s look at some of the things that Tuppy says about his supposedly beloved Angela.

* * * * * * * * *

The witness Bertie Wooster tells us…

…they had had their little tiffs, notably on…

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Cover Story: 5 people share their ideas about Classic Novels they’ve never read

I wrote this a few years ago at my personal blog, which I am now decommissioning. I thought I’d save this piece to share here with fellow Wodehouse lovers.

This week, I enjoyed a piece called Judging a Book by Its Cover: A 6-year-old guesses what classic novels are all about. It inspired me to conduct a similar exercise of my own. I showed the covers of 7 classic novels – one from each category of  The Guardian’s list of 1000 novels everyone must read) – to five people, of different ages, who had not read these books. I asked them to consider what, if anything, they already knew about the book, what they thought it was about, and whether they’d like to read it. I was particularly interested to compare how their responses varied.

The subjects were:

  • Amelia, a bright 6-year-old girl.
  • Ian, an intelligent 28-year-old who has struggled with reading throughout his life due to a learning disability (he can read words, but loses track of meaning in complex sentences).
  • Stephanie, a 37-year-old avid reader with eclectic tastes.
  • Bill, a 43-year-old who likes science fiction.
  • Lena, a 63-year-old who reads popular psychology and spiritual non-fiction.

Decline And Fall by Evelyn Waugh

“a bit of an odd cover for a historical book.”

AMELIA: thought this might be a P.G. Wodehouse book because “one of them looks like Jeeves.” She thought the story might about things that fall off. “Coats might fall off people or cars might fall into water.”

IAN: thinks it might be “about somebody gaining money or gaining power and then losing it.” Asked if he would be interested to read it, he wasn’t convinced it would be worth reading.

STEPHANIE: “I don’t know what it’s about, but I loved Vile Bodies and I’d love to read this. It might be about the same kind of thing – decadent living and debauchery.”

BILL: “I’ve heard of this, it’s a history of the Roman Empire. It’s a bit of an odd cover for a historical book. I would have expected Roman Emperors or statues of things. Something a bit more Roman. Have I got the right book? It’s not the sort of thing I’d usually read.” After reading the blurb Bill said, “That sounds better  – I might actually give it a read.”

LENA: “It’s probably set in the early 1900s – 1930s, perhaps a romance between people from different social stratas.” When the plot was described, Lena was surprised. “It hadn’t entered my mind that it might be a comedy. I’ve heard Evelyn Waugh is a good writer so I’d certainly give it some consideration on the basis of that – and the period in which it’s set. I quite like things of that era.”

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Not Anna Karenina

AMELIA: “It might be about “someone stealing and then they had to get in jail. It doesn’t sound very nice. It sounds a little bit mean.”

IAN:  “I have heard of this.” Ian thought the story would be “exactly what is says: steal the bread and you get your fingers cut off; do the crime, do the time.” He wouldn’t read it, but might watch the film version, “as long as it’s not subtitled.”

STEPHANIE: “I have a copy of this. I know I should read it.” She thought it might be about “Russians suffering.” When the plot was described, Stephanie said, it was “just as I suspected – grim and depressing.”

BILL: “I’m not all that hot on Russian novels”. Bill had heard of the title and author, but wasn’t really sure – or interested – in what it was about. After reading a description of the book, he was still “not really interested.” He elaborated by saying, “I tend to think of Russian authors as being a bit too depressing.”

LENA: “It’s certainly one that I’ve heard of. I’d guess that it’s set in Russia, possibly in war-time. Perhaps it’s about a captain in the Russian army – there’s a woman involved who’s married to somebody important, but she’s attracted to this dashing young officer and they have wild fling, and get caught. He’s sent to the Russian front and ‘disposed of’.” After reading the synopsis, Lena was interested in reading further” ‘I think that sounds really interesting.”

Ulysses by James Joyce

“…about a man who has no brain”

AMELIA: “It might be about a man and he has no brain and he does not know what any answer is to anything.” She thought “it might be a little bit funny, so I think I do want to read it.”

IAN:  “Is this about that over 50′s motorcycle group? Maybe he’s a blind guy who is toffee-nosed and thinks he’s better than everyone else. ” After hearing a synopsis, Ian said, “265,000 words about one day! That sounds like my Mum. She could talk for half an hour about going to the shop.”

STEPHANIE: I’ve read a biography of James Joyce and I’ve read Portrait of the Artist. I don’t find Joyce very appealing, and a lot of the people who talk about him are really pretentious. I wouldn’t mind betting half them haven’t read it (Ulysses).” After hearing a synopsis of the book, Stephanie thought it sounded “…pretty pretentious as well.”

BILL:  “It’s a bit of a classic. He named it after the Greek story by.. Homer isn’t it?” Bill doesn’t know what it’s about, but he remembers reading somewhere that it’s one of those book he ‘should’ read.” After reading the description, Bill is less keen. “I’m not really into stream-of-consciousness novels.”

LENA: “This would be a novel based loosely on the epic poem and brought into the modern era – or his era. It’s probably about a young fellow leaving the shores of his country and a fairly narrow, predictable existence – to go to war. And his whole life changes beyond what his experiences might have been if he’d never gone to war. His whole way of viewing things is challenged and he returns a very different person.” When a synopsis of the book was read to her,  Lena felt she wouldn’t want to read it. “I know people think he (Joyce) is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it doesn’t interest me. If I want stream-of-consciousness, I can listen to myself.”

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“it’s going to be a romance”

AMELIA: “It’s about a magic fence that could open by itself and someone invisible is coming into the house, and tries to steal all the kids in the house, and the children might think it’s a ghost. There might be a big adventure.” She doesn’t want to read it “because it might be too scary, but I like to hear about big adventures.”

IAN: “Stupid title for a book unless it’s a biography.” He thought it might be a thriller or a horror.  “Not my cup of tea.”

STEPHANIE: “I’ve got an old penguin paperback copy of this, and it’s always somewhere near the top of the pile so I’ll probably read it eventually. I don’t know a lot about it, apart from the fact that Alfred Hitchcock made a film of it. I’m imagining something a little bit like a Bronte novel.”

BILL: “I don’t really know anything about the book or the author. It sounds a bit like a romantic novel , or Thomas Hardy – I can’t bear Thomas Hardy! Bill was even less interested after reading the blurb.

LENA: “My mother used to read Daphne Du Maurier, but her copy of this book had a very different cover. I remember it quite vividly because it was very different from other book covers of the time – it had a picture of a very glamourous looking female on the front and it really caught my eye as a kid. I just presumed it was a romance. I guess it would be set in the 1800s. She’s either a well-to-do woman – it’s going to be a romance – who meets a guy from the wrong side of the tracks and has to leave her wealthy home behind. Or otherwise, she’s incarcerated in an insane asylum. I can’t make up my mind. Those gates seem to be symbolic of either being locked up or escaping from something.” After hearing the plot synopsis, Lena thought she probably wouldn’t read it, “but I might watch the film if it came out”.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin

“mystery about a one-handed person who murders people”

AMELIA:  “There was a mountain with snow on it and even though it was a bright day, it was dark. And there was a queen who lived in the castle and whenever she saw people go past, she got a book of spells off the shelf to see if she could stop them from getting her gold and stop the white tigers from guarding the forest of darkness. At the end, when she lost, she went ‘nooooooooo!’ It might be a little be too scary for me.”

IAN:  “A murder mystery about a one-handed person who murders people with their one hand.” Ian didn’t want to read it. “I can’t really follow science fiction fantasy plots very well.”

STEPHANIE: “I’d heard of this title, but it never sounded very appealing. I really like the cover though. I have no idea what it’s about – some kind of futile struggle for meaning in the face of adversity, blah blah blah.” After hearing a synopsis of the book, she thought it was”nothing like I’d thought it was. I’d be more likely to read it, but I already have a lot of others books I want to read, so I won’t make any promises.”

BILL:  “I have heard a synopsis of the plot in past. I’ve forgotten what it was about now, but I’ve always wanted to read it.” After reading a synopsis of the book, Bill said slowly “…ahh, I think I have read that – and it was really good.” Yeah, Bill. Obviously!

LENA: “I don’t get science fiction at all. I don’t know what it could be about – some kind of time travelly, futuristicy sort of thing, set in some other dimension.” After hearing a synopsis, Lena said she was interested in reading it “on two counts because I’d be interested to see how she works that. I have got a sense of her as a name that I associate with good writing, so I’d be prepared to give it a chapter or two to see if I could get into it.”

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

“Why would you call a book Bleak House?”

AMELIA:  “About a house called Bleak and a boy called Bleak, and the house could talk. And whenever the Mum called ‘Bleak!’ the boy Bleak and the House both ran to her, but she said “Bleak go away!” So she decided that she would call them ‘Bleak House’ and ‘Bleak Boy’ whenever she called out, and that solved the problem.” Amelia would read this story, “because it doesn’t sound that scary.”

IAN: “A very boring sort of house in a very boring street – the people who live there are not very nice and nobody wants to go there.” Asked if he’d read it, Ian said, “Definitely not! Why would you call a book Bleak House?”

STEPHANIE:   “I am interested in Dickens, and I know he created great characters and exposed some of the terrible conditions of his time, but… I’m depressed enough already.”

BILL:  “I’ve heard of this and I’ve heard of Dickens of course. Mainly ‘A Christmas Carol’”. It doesn’t look very cheery. Probably it’s like most Dickens – all about hardship and deprivation and incredibly depressing. I read to escape from depressing reality, not read something even more depressing.”

LENA: “Well if it’s Charles Dickens, it’s gotta be a social commentary sort of thing depicting the life of the times. He might have written it as one whole sentence. He wrote the longest sentence in history, I think. The child might be the central character, probably an orphan who has found himself in the poor house. Some rich benevolent fellow and his family might discover him, take pity on him and rescue him, and later he falls in love with the daughter of the benefactor and they go through all sorts of trials and tribulations. And Dickens covers a fair bit of territory in terms of covering the life and times of the poor and disadvantaged in England at the time. I’ve read quite a few Dickens and I really enjoyed him when I was young. A Tale of Two Cities was fantastic – really different from my life in the Australian bush. I understand what he was about, but I don’t know that I could be bothered any more.”

Nostromo by Joseph Conrad 

“wild west high shenanigans”

AMELIA: “It’s about a man who is trying to kill someone and he has a gun with five shooting holes so the girl’s in trouble. But the girl throws the cannonball back and it hits the gun. And the man turns into a prince who says, ‘How did you know I was really a prince and got transformed?” Amelia wouldn’t really like to read it “because I don’t like fighting stories.”

IAN:  “Some Spanish guy with a neat moustache hiding in the bushes? Sounds like it might be about a Mexican guy trying to sneak into America or working on a cotton or cocaine plantation in Mexico and he rises to become some head army dude like Fidel Castro. It’s probably his memoirs. Yeah! If it was a movie I might be tempted.”

STEPHANIE: “I have to confess I’ve avoided reading any Joseph Conrad because I used to go out with this guy who really loved Conrad. This guy was an awful prat, and unfortunately I’ve just associated Conrad with him and haven’t been able to touch him (Conrad). But I started reading The Secret Agent the other day and I have to say that I love his writing style. I don’t know what this one is about though. Is it the sea one?” After reading the book blurb, Stephanie wasn’t sure if she’d read it. “This doesn’t really sound like my kind of thing, but he’s such a great writer, perhaps he makes it more interesting than it sounds.”

BILL: “The name of the author rings a bell. Is he American? Nostromo is the name of the spaceship in the first Alien movie.” Looking at the cover, Bill thought it might be about “gold digging, claim jumping, wild west high shenanigans. Not really my sort of thing.” But after hearing a description, Bill thought, “it could be interesting.”

LENA: “I’ve read one of his. It’ll be in some exotic place. The book I read was something to do with the sea. He’s probably picked a country like South America or Spain, and he’s writing about this fellow Nostramo who takes a journey across the seas to South America and makes his fortunes in the gold mines. And the story will go on and on and on forever and he’ll describe eloquently and painstakingly every fly that flies past him, so it’ll be pretty hard going. It’ll be deep and meaningful, but I don’t think that I could be bothered. I might watch it as a movie and if I thought it wasn’t such a bad yarn, I might decide it was worth reading.”

Thanks again to my ‘subjects’ for their time and refreshing honesty. HP

Piggy, Maudie and A Seasoned Romance

honoria plum:

Another terrific contribution to the Great Romances series from the inimitable ashokbhatia.

Originally posted on ashokbhatia:

In old age, lust gets mellowed down and wisdom acquires a brighter shade of orange. Holding hands and physicalVeryGoodJeeves contact gets relegated to the background. Instead, common ailments and related medications and therapies rule the roost. At times, the lining of the stomach paves the way for a couple to start sharing the trials and tribulations of life together. One of the stories where P G Wodehouse puts this across succinctly is the one titled ‘Indian Summer of an Uncle.’

Uncle George is unduly attached to the pleasures of the table. The lining of his stomach is no longer in a good shape. Twice a year, his liver lodges a formal protest and he goes off to Harrogate or Carlsbad for some rest and recuperation.

He is contemplating a matrimonial alliance with a much younger Miss Rhoda Platt who happens to be a waitress at his club. Jeeves…

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New Wodehouse Releases

What ho, what ho, Plum lovers!

I just wanted to share my excitement about some recent developments in the world of Wodehouse scholarship.

‘For Love or Honour’: an early Wodehouse story uncovered

Those excellent people at the P.G.W. Globe Reclamation Project have been busy uncovering Wodehouse’s early work published in the The Globe magazine. This week, they announced the discovery of ‘For Love or Honour’, an early Wodehouse story serialised in that magazine in 1907. And what’s more, they’ve made the story available to us, courtesy of the incomparable Madam Eulalie website.

It is full of delightful touches:

‘Night had fallen on Clapham. (This was about the time when night had fallen on the other parts of London, to which we have referred in previous chapters.)’

And:

In London the sight of a curate in an inky mask is no novelty. The population of London is reputed to be about five millions. Practically it is ten millions, for every single man leads a double life. Most fashionable West-end clergymen are Thugs in their off-hours. Vicars are vicious. Bishops drink blood. Archbishops assassinate.

But don’t take my word for it. Have a read yourself at the  Madam Eulalie website. Do take some time to peruse the site while you’re there. It’s a great source of early Wodehouse writing that is practically impossible forus  mere mortals to find elsewhere.

popgoodPhrases and Notes

Hot on the heels of this news comes the announcement of an upcoming publication by Wodehouse expert N. T. P. Murphy. Norman Murphy is well known for his indispensable Wodehouse Handbook, and his walking tours of Wodehouse’s London (published as Three Wodehouse Walks). Murphy also treated us to the long awaited ‘Reminiscences of the Hon. Galahad Threepwood‘.

Phrases and Notes’ is Murphy’s annotated transcriptions of Wodehouse’s notebooks from 1902-1905, and promises to be of great interest to many Wodehouse lovers. You can order a copy direct from publishers ‘Popgood & Groolley’ at their Facebook page.  They should also be able to advise you about other books by N.T.P Murphy.

Keep yourself in the loop

To those of you who are impressed by my up-to-date, ‘insider knowledge’ of the latest Wodehouse news, let me correct the impression. Keeping in the loop on Wodehouse affairs is a simple matter of joining one or more of the excellent online Wodehouse communities at Yahoo and Facebook. Even better, join your  local Wodehouse society and pretty soon you’ll be browsing and sluicing at the same trough at those in the know.

Enjoy!