Jeeves and Wooster
I was wondering if there were anyone belonging to this community of literature buffs who could tell me something about P.G. Wodehouses' famous books on the bumbling Bertie Wooster and his omniscient butler who, quaintly enough, only goes by the single name Jeeves. Does any of you know if, in any of the many books on this strange couple, the reader is ever informed of who Berties' parents were and what happened to them and what is Jeeves full name? If this information is indeed to be found in any of the books, could you please tell me what the titles are?
Many thanks (or xiexie ni as they say here in Nanchang)
jeeves’ full name is Reginald Jeeves
The names of Bertie's parents are never mentioned. We know that they must have died young, since he was orphaned at about age nine and thereafter raised by his two strong-willed aunts. We are told that Bertie's father was a sporting man who wanted to name him 'Wilberforce' after a horse than won the Grand National! Presumably Bertie's mom overruled him, but later compromised by adding the 'Wilberforce' as a middle name. We're also told that at the age of about 7 or so, Bertie's parents used to summon him to the drawing-room to give visitors a glimpse of the young Wooster. Poor Bertie was exopected to recite stuff like 'Ben Battle' and 'The Charge of the Light Brigade.' His mother would say 'Bertie recites so nicely,' which was a bare-faced lie since the reluctant kid always tried to duck for safety and afterwards, when compelled to do his piece, would usually fluff his lines.
In answer to the first part of your question, there are 14 books in the series, all of them still in print. As follows:
(1) Jeeves /published in UK as The Inimitable Jeeves
(2) Carry On, Jeeves
(3) Very Good, Jeeves
(4) Thank You, Jeeves!
(5) Brinkley Manor/published in the UK as Right ho, Jeeves
(6)The Code of the Woosters
(7) Joy in the Morning
(8) The Mating Season
(9) The Return of Jeeves/ published in the UK as Ring For Jeeves
(10) Bertie Wooster Sees It Through/ published in the UK as Jeeves & the Feudal Spirit (11) How Right You are, Jeeves/ published in the UK as Jeeves in the Offing
(12) Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves
(13) Jeeves & the Tie That Binds/ published in the UK as Much Obliged, Jeeves
(14) The Cat Nappers/ Published in the Uk as Aunts Aren't Gentlemen
For the purist, there's also the first Jeeves story, "Extricating Young Gussie," which appears in the hard-to-find anthology The Man With Two Left Feet; AND there's My Man Jeeves, a 1919 compilation of 4 tales that were later revamped for Carry On, Jeeves.
All the early books are good, but I would especially recommend Thank You, Jeeves; Brinkley Manor; The Code of the Woosters; and Joy in the Morning for starters. The funniest of the anthologies is Very Good, Jeeves.
Kat in a Hat
Oh yes, those are very good. Code of the Woosters is a stitch.
"It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."
"Frivolity is a stern taskmaster."
Zippy the Pinhead
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I just returned to this site and reread your original question! Obviously what you're asking is specifically WHERE to find, in these books, the info that you inquired about. Well, let's see...
The reference to young Bertie reciting poetry at his parents' insistence appears at the beginning of chapter 13 of Bertie Wooster Sees It Through/Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit. The reference to Bertie's father wanting to christen him "Wilberforce" appears in Jeeves and the Tie That Binds/Much Obliged, Jeeves. And in the same book, Tie That Binds/Much Obliged, in chapter 4, Jeeves is haled by a club acquaintance as "Reggie."
In the short story "Bertie Changes His Mind," the only one narrated by Jeeves, we discover that Jeeves, in youth, began his career as page boy in a school for young ladies. Jeeves also mentions a former employer of his, Mr. Montague Todd, apparently a con artist now serving out a prison sentence!
Jeeves, I'm quite sure, was never implicated in any of Mr. Todd's dirty dealings...
Much Obliged Jeeves
I read in Wikipedia that the ending of "Much Obliged Jeeves" was changed by its American publishers. I am very much interested in what the original ending was supposed to be (or is). Does anyone know?