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Ridiculous Beginnings

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honoria plum

honoria plum

My personal quest is the search for a life inspired by the literature of P.G Wodehouse. Plumtopia celebrates this quest with other Wodehouse fans.

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Pigs Have Wings (1952)

All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.

Albert Camus

The world of literature is blessed with many brilliantly conceived and well-remembered beginnings, celebrated in fitting tributes across the blogoshpere. Inspired by Albert Camus’s appreciation of the ridiculous, I have been contemplating great beginnings in humorous fiction.

Terry Pratchett, the modern master of intelligent ridiculousness, begins Hogfather on a similar theme.

Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.

Further thoughts on the subject are offered by Douglas Adams in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe .

The story so far:

In the beginning the universe was created.

This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

One of my favourite beginnings comes from P.G Wodehouse’s Leave it to Psmith.

At the open window of the great library of Blandings Castle, drooping like a wet sock, as was his habit when he had nothing to prop his spine against, the Earl of Emsworth, that amiable and boneheaded peer, stood gazing out over his domain.

Wodehouse was a true master of the ridiculous and, despite what you may may have heard, dished out the treatment to all classes and political persuasions in equal measure. In Pigs Have Wings, he begins below stairs.

Beach the butler, wheezing a little after navigating the stairs, for he was not the streamlined young under-footman he had been thirty years ago, entered the library of Blandings Castle, a salver piled with letters in his hand.

One of the most famous first line of all time, and another favourite, comes from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

A provocatively ridiculous beginning from another author who delighted in the absurdity of human society. Jane Austen is shamefully regarded by too many as a mere romance novelist when she deserves pride of place among satirists. Perhaps this is because audiences are more familiar with (some) film and television adaptations that replace much of the humour with cleavage and bonnets.

So ends my beginning. In quoting the beginnings of others, I’m conscious that I have offered very little in the way of original thought, but I think it’s important to always begin with respect for what has gone before.

HP

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4 Comments

  1. […] Ridiculous Beginnings (honoriaplum.wordpress.com) […]

  2. mizqui says:

    Awesome beginnings. Awesome post. 🙂

  3. honoria plum says:

    Reblogged this on Strong remarks from the Bar and commented:

    R is for Ridiculous. This piece, ‘Ridiculous Beginnings’ comes from my other blog, Plumtopia (a homage to P.G.Wodehouse)
    ‘Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.’

    The Luck of the Bodkins (1935)

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