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Thread: Any Wodehouse fans here?

  1. #16
    Kat in a Hat kathycf's Avatar
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    You are for sure correct there, Mary Sue. Wodehouse had a real gift!
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  2. #17
    Two Gun Kid Idril's Avatar
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    I've never read any Wodehouse but I've become very curious about him from all the mention of him on this site. If I were to venture into the world of Wodehouse, which book would you recommend I start with?

  3. #18
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    Smile Best Book To Start With

    When I first discovered Wodehouse I was 15 years old. And the book that I read was Thank You, Jeeves, which I would recommend to anyone as a first-rate choice. It's not the first of the Jeeves series, but the first NOVEL in that series; all earlier publications about Jeeves were anthologies of short stories. And what makes Thank You, Jeeves so good? It's funny and witty, even off the wall at times, and it establishes early on the relationship between our narrator Bertie Wooster and his bossy, manipulative servant.

    In chapter one Bertie is rebelling against Jeeves' tyranny. Bertie wants to play the bajolele----it's 1934, so think loud jazz---but Jeeves, representing the older generation, demands peace and quiet. Reading this at age 15, I naturally identified with Bertie's point of view and wanted him to prevail in the conflict. Now, looking back, I see Bertie as the obnoxious adolescent and Jeeves as the voice of reason! But however you look at it, the scene is set for a great, long romp.

    But if you can't find a copy of Thank You, Jeeves there are other equally good titles to start with. Right Ho, Jeeves is famous among Wodehouse fans because it delivers the funniest drunk scene, probably, in English literatuure: namely, Gussie Fink-Nottle, "tight as an owl," giving his speech to the scholars of Market Snodsbury Grammar School. Don't miss that one. And you might also try The Code of the Woosters, another gem. That one has the most convoluted plot I've ever seen, with a stolen cow-creamer and a stolen notebook and a stolen policemen's helmet. It also has the line "While not exactly disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled...." And it has an unforgettable heroine in the saucer-eyed, repulsively sentimental Madeline Bassett who thinks "that the stars are God's daisy chain"!

    Oh yes, and the short stories are good too. Especially the ones in Very Good, Jeeves. And then there's the series about doddering Lord Emsworth and his splendidly dysfunctional family at Blandings Castle. Some good Blandings titles are Summer Lightning, Uncle Fred in the Springtime, and Leave It To Psmith. If you like family sagas about half-witted blue-bloods, you might actually prefer the Blandings stuff to Jeeves.

  4. #19
    Two Gun Kid Idril's Avatar
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    Thank you, Mary Sue for your very detailed suggestions, just what I wanted! I usually get all my books on amazon so I should have no trouble finding those and if the American version doesn't have them, I can always go to the UK version, I have accounts at both. Your descriptions have made me very anxious to read them now, they sound right up my alley.

  5. #20
    Kat in a Hat kathycf's Avatar
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    Heh, I should check this thread more often. I don't think I could suggest anything better than the books Mary Sue mentioned. Jeeves is always the voice of reason in matters of music, fashion and anything else you could ever imagine...
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  6. #21
    My favourite Wodehouse scene is in Right Ho, Jeeves, when Gussy Fink Nottle is drunk and he tells a ten year old boy to get married! He was pure genius old Woody.

  7. #22
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    That scene with drunken Gussie giving away the prizes is, as you say, pure genius:

    "Presently there was a musical squeaking and P.K. Purvis climbed the platform.
    The spelling and dictation champ was about three foot six in his squeaking shoes, with a pink face and sandy hair. Gussie patted this hair. He seemed to have taken an immediate fancy to the lad.
    'You P.K. Purvis?'
    'Sir, yes, sir.'
    'It's a beautiful world, P.K. Purvis.'
    'Sir, yes, sir.'
    'And, you've noticed it, have you? Good. You married, by any chance?'
    'Sir, no, sir.'
    'Get married, P.K. Purvis,' said Gussie earnestly. 'It's the only life...Well, here's your book. Looks rather bilge to me from a glance at the title page, but, such as it is, here you are.' "

    AND:

    "G. G. Simmons was an unpleasant, perky-looking stripling, mostly front teeth and spectacles...Gussie, I was sorry to see, didn't like him. There was in his manner, as he regarded G. G. Simmons, none of the chumminess which had marked it during his interview with P.K. Purvis. He was cold and distant.
    'Well, G. G. Simmons."
    'Sir, yes, sir.'
    'What do you mean----sir, yes, sir? Dashed silly thing to say. So you've won the Scripture-knowledge prize, have you?'
    'Sir, yes, sir.'
    'Yes,' said Gussie, 'you look just the sort of little tick who would. And yet,' he said, pausing and eyeing the child keenly,'how are we to know that this has all been open and above board? Let me test you, G. G. Simmons. What was What's-His-Name----the chap who begat Thingummy? Can you answer me that, Simmons?'
    'Sir, no, sir.'
    Gussie turned to the bearded bloke.
    'Fishy,' he said. 'Very fishy. This boy appears to be totally lacking in Scripture knowledge.' "

  8. #23
    I agree that is pure genius! And then he rails against Wooster completely accusing old Bertie of cheating on Scripture Knowledge! I'll have to read this book again, especially now that the Winter months are coming.



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  9. #24
    Registered User zomgmouse's Avatar
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    Wodehouse is absolutely fantastic.

    I recently bought two Wodehouse compilations using prize money from school. One one book, a quote on the dust cover by Stephen Fry states that "He exhausts superlatives". I agree to the full extent.

    That also explains why I have a Wodehouse quote in my signature.

    Pure brilliance. (though why it's pronounced Woodhouse I'll never know).
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  10. #25
    [...] Erichtho's Avatar
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    Some months ago I bought a second hand copy of Indiscretions of Archie and read it. It was a light and relaxing read, but seriously - I can't see what is so great about him that he is still read nowadays, decades after his death. Maybe I was missing something because I read it in a weird translation, though, but please, enlighten me!
    Čłowjek je dwójny, tež sam sebi. Tysacy słowow sym kaž paćerki stykał na swoje lĕta a na kóncu spóznał, zo ani jednoho słowa njeje, kotrež by jeho w ćĕle a duši we wšej wĕrnosći wĕrnje pomjenowało.

  11. #26
    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
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    I haven't read anything about Archie or Psmith. Wodehouse was a very prolific writer and I think I haven't read quite a bit of his work. I'm a great fan of the Jeeves and Blandings stories.

    It's difficult for me to say exactly why I like these books so much, but Mary Sue has done a very good job of explaining Wodehouse's genius in some of the previous posts. To quote-

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Sue View Post
    Wodehouse is pure magic. He takes the English language and turns it on its head; he teaches it to spin and to dance and to do somersaults through a hoop and to gambol like a whatsit in springtime. His mixed metaphors and botched quotations are unique, especially when delivered in Bertie Wooster's voice. Only a great comic genius could do all that!

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