The Great Wodehouse Romances: The true romance of PG & Ethel Wodehouse

  Each February at Plumtopia I take a break from my usual pontifications to celebrate some of the ‘Great Romances’ from P.G. Wodehouse’s work, to mark the anniversary of his death on St Valentine’s Day, 1975. This year, I’d like to break with the formula a little by touching on the great romance of Wodehouse’s …

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Overcoming Boggarts, Dementors & Roderick Spode: The Transformation of Emotion as a Coping Strategy

Today’s reading comes from the blog of ZanyZigZag, Clinical Psychologist in training and P.G. Wodehouse lover. Her post today touches on subjects close to my heart.

I’m not opposed to a bit of positive thinking. Some of my best friends are optimists. My concern is that ‘positivity’ has become a socially desirable behaviour, helped along by claims that it’s good for you. We are encouraged to distance ourselves from ‘negative people’ and ‘negativity’ has been demonised as behaviour to overcome (or at least hush up in society and the workplace). Under the guise of negativity, some very useful and important behaviours — like criticism and complaint — have been demonised too. It’s hardly surprising that these ideas gain traction. They are a gift to governments, employers, and maladjusted spouses the world over.

Yes, a world without criticism and complaint would be lovely. But until our world is also free of its problems — violence, injustice and inequality — criticism and complaint remain necessary forces for change. If you’re concerned about wealth or gender inequality, for example, just imagine how things might be if nobody complained. One can hardly be blamed for bouts of pessimism in such a world, and I’m deeply suspicious of the idea that a life of sustained positivity, unbalanced by ‘negative’ thoughts, is a healthy goal to aspire to.

As someone who is not one of nature’s optimists, this isn’t something I’m likely to suffer from. I worry and I brood. I fail to spot the bluebird. I feel that until the world is put right, I’m somehow failing in my responsibilities as a human being. For me, and I suspect for many people, P.G. Wodehouse is more than a great writer. His writing has a transformative power –providing bluebirds when bluebirds are in short supply. As I said in my recent talk in Seattle on the Psychology of the Individual: for some people, reading Wodehouse is the icing on the cake of a happy life. For others, he is a lifeline.

Zanyzigzag's Blog

I have been meaning to write a new blogpost for months now, but due to the demands of my clinical psychology course I have been struggling to find the time. The evidence for my plea that this course seems to have taken over my life is clearly illustrated by the fact that even this blogpost has a psychology-related theme to it. It also, however, mentions Harry Potter and Wodehouse, so all is not lost just yet.

In case any of you have eyed the title of this post with scepticism and are concerned that it will in some way be celebrating the “power” of positive thinking, let me reassure you that this is absolutely not the case. I am a confirmed cynic when it comes to affirmations, mantras and “inspirational” quotes – and feel vindicated by studies like this (hyperlink), which demonstrate that positive thinking can actually be harmful rather…

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Psmith in Pseattle: our little paradise

What Ho, old beans! Last week I attended an excellent binge at The Wodehouse Society's (TWS) 18th convention, Psmith in Pseattle. It was my first TWS convention, and even more psensational than anticipated. So, climb upon my knee, Sonny Boy, and I’ll tell you about it. Introductions As a TWS first timer, I entered the …

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Birthday Sipsmith & Tonic

What Ho! What Ho! It's time again for my annual birthday binge and, as luck would have it, I have recently happened upon a marvellous brand of gin to celebrate with. And while I don't usually go in for endorsements at Plumtopia, (it's not that sort of blog) I couldn't resist sharing the label with you. It's …

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When the martyred p. is late for work

As he stood near the doorway, one or two panting figures rushed up the steps, and flung themselves at a large book which stood on the counter near the door. Mike was to come to know this book well. Psmith in the City One of the minor curses of my day-to-day existence is being habitually …

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The Annual Mothers’ Treat

When you are shut up all the year round in a place like Maiden Eggesford, with nothing to do but wash underclothing and attend Divine Service, you naturally incline to let yourself go a bit at times of festival and holidays. 'Tried in the Furnace' (Young Men in Spats) What Ho! What Ho! I'm in …

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What’s up with you today? Nothing — now that I’m reading Wodehouse.

'What's up with you today?' he asked. He could hardly have chosen a worse formula. The question has on most people precisely the same effect as that which the query, 'Do you know where you lost it?' has on one who is engaged in looking for mislaid property. 'Nothing,' said Reade. Probably at the same …

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A day made to order

The beautiful spring weather we've been enjoying in Somerset, reminded me that it is nearly always spring or summer in Wodehouse's world. Yesterday was a day so fine, it could have been written to order by Wodehouse himself. It was a glorious morning of blue and gold, of fleecy clouds and insects droning in the …

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Honoria Plum – Another Nice Find

Victoria Madden has written a lovely piece about discovering Plumtopia (and Ashokbhatia ) at her Moulders Lane blog. I was so delighted, I had to share it here. If you can read it whilst sipping tea on the lawn, even better.

Moulders Lane

I got into blogging almost by accident: I was writing a book and it occurred to me – I still don’t know how, I’m a complete techno-idiot – that putting my ideas online would help me get a better perspective on what I was writing.  After many diversions I ended up with three, inter-related blogs: one of which you are now reading.

When someone actually posted a (very nice) comment on an article I’d written here that mentioned P. G. Wodehouse, I had a feeling of slight alarm.  I spent two or three months looking at it doubtfully, then took the plunge and rather gingerly added it to my post. More time passed.

It finally occurred to me to wonder who this person from the Internet was who’d left such an astute and gratifying comment – and more particularly, how they’d found my post.  I followed the link like Alice…

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