Having apprised regular readers of certain facts about an upcoming Wodehouse exhibition at the British Library, the keen observer may have detected an absence of new material here at Plumtopia. But the world of Wodehouse has not suffered. Indeed, it has been buzzing along quite nicely. The P G Wodehouse Society dinner On 11 October, …
The P.G. Wodehouse exhibition at the British Library that I mentioned a few weeks ago is now happily in place, and Marion and I visited while in London earlier this week.
It is a fairly small affair, in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures of the British Libraryroom. The last exhibit I saw in that space was devoted to Karl Marx. The Wodehouse one is cheerier. It is a sample of the manuscripts and other items recently sent to the Library by the Cazalet family (on permanent loan, I think).
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In 2016, I had the great privilege of visiting the home of P.G. Wodehouse’s grandson to see his extensive family collection of Wodehouse treasures, including drafts, completed manuscripts, letters, and Wodehouse's own reading library. As you might imagine, I was giddy with excitement throughout the visit. Highlights included Wodehouse's edition of Shakespeare’s complete works (which …
If I were to construct a Plumtopian society according to my own specifications (which, regrettably, nobody has asked me to do) BBC Radio 4 would be one of the first things I'd bung into the package. In addition to producing high quality radio, the Radio 4 website is also well worth exploring. It contains, among …
My recent post on the Centenary of the P.G. Wodehouse novel Piccadilly Jim, prompted some discussion about Wodehouse adaptations. Some people think it impossible and ought not be attempted. I disagree. What the world needs is more and better Wodehouse adaptations. While it's true that some of the linguistic joys of Wodehouse's prose cannot be …
A kindly soul once corrected my pronunciation of P.G. Wodehouse, and I’m profoundly grateful to him for saving me from making a complete ass of myself when I began mixing in Wodehouse Society circles (if only he'd taught me how to use cutlery as well). I had been pronouncing Wodehouse as if it rhymed with …
He was sorry, he wrote, that he would be unable to see Miss Petherick-Soames on the morrow, as they had planned, owing to his unfortunately being called away to Australia. He added that he was pleased to have made her acquaintance and that if, as seemed probable, they never saw each other again, he would …
The Old Stepper, that marvellous Australian character, has reported his experience of the recentish Wodehouse Society convention in Washington USA. Thanks old bean!
Now where was I?* Oh yes . . . The Wodehouse Society convention in Washington DC, way back in October . . . hmmm. It was a big couple of days and I’ve tried to capture them in verse, given that’s less typing. My excuse for not expanding on the topic in my usual wordy way is that the doggerel ate my homework.
No really, thank you, the applause is too much . . .
The Stepper Goes to Washington†
What ho, old bean, they brayed
as The Stepper hove into view.
G’day, I grinned, undismayed
amid the Plummy crew.
I’m the boy from Oz, how’re’y’all
doin’ here in Washington?
What, what, what, they said ’n’ all,
just to be clear, what again?
Well, I knew I couldn’t keep this up
for a whole weekend so I reverted
to English and they offered the cup
of kindness usual to the…
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The P G Wodehouse Society (UK) wants to know which three short stories you would include in a Wodehouse Pick-Me-Up edition. In the latest edition of Wooster Sauce, Quarterly Journal of The P G Wodehouse Society (UK), the Society is offering members who answer this question the chance to win copies of Random House’s new …
The Blog ‘Classically Educated’, which offers itself as ‘A Place for Global Citizens and Polymaths’, recently recommended ‘Three Unconventional Roads to Wodehouse’ – a welcome addition to this subject.
One of my great regrets in life is not having put in the necessary mental spadework to develop my potential as a polymath. My mental faculties are sound – perhaps not genius material, but my mother (like Bertie Wooster’s) thought me bright. And I’m genuinely interested in knowing, well… everything! It’s not a question of prestige, or being good at quiz nights — I just hate to be ignorant.
But life is stern and life is earnest. The necessary toil which consumes one’s fertile thinking hours, also has a tendency to sap ambition. This, along with the inevitable distractions of everyday life, have kept me from developing the old bean to any laudable extent. At this late stage, the best I can reasonably hope for is to become a unimath (if that’s a word, Jeeves), although my areas of current expertise are deplorably limited.
Even on the subject of P.G. Wodehouse, his life and work, I am an enthusiast rather than an expert. I have read (and re-read) his published works, as well as biographies and other works written about him — well over 100 volumes in total. This puts me in the excellent company of hundreds of genial souls around the globe — I am honoured and delighted to be among them. But the experts in our community take their devotion to another level, dedicating long hours to scholarly research to uncover new information (including undiscovered works) for our benefit. I tip my hat to them!
But for the Polymath – or indeed anyone else — looking to extend their reading into the realm of Wodehouse, I feel sufficiently qualified to offer informed advice without making an ass of myself. Indeed, I have already done so.
It always interests me to read others’ recommendations, and I’ve revised my own ideas on the subject many times. There is no wrong way to read Wodehouse, expect perhaps upside-down.
I’m now following this polymath blog in a last-ditch attempt to attain wisdom. Wish me luck!
Mention PG Wodehouse in a conversation and most people will immediately think of Jeeves and Wooster. That’s partly due to the success of the books and stories, but, I suspect, mostly because of the various film and TV adaptations. Of course, the one with Hugh Laurie as Wooster utterly deserves to have that notoriety.
But there is more to Wodehouse than the butler and his hapless gentleman. No less a writer (and polymath) than Isaac Asimov said that Wodehouse, on a sentence level, is one of the three greatest writers in the English language (the other two, if memory serves, being Austen and Dickens).
People often scoff at that, of course. A mere humorist upstaging countless numbers of earnest, serious writers, some of whom are even politically committed? Blasphemy. My answer to that is simple: pick up any of Wodehouse’s books, turn to a random page, and read any sentence…
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