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P. G. Wodehouse
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Sir P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975), English playwright and author created the fictional characters
Bertie Wooster and Reginald Jeeves, starring in such works as The Inimitable Jeeves (1923), Carry On
Jeeves (1925), Right Ho Jeeves (1934), Thank You, Jeeves (1934), Ring For Jeeves (1953), How Right
You Are Jeeves (1960), and My Man Jeeves (1919);
Jeeves--my man, you know--is really a most extraordinary chap. So capable. Honestly, I shouldn't
know what to do without him. On broader lines he's like those chappies who sit peering sadly over the
marble battlements at the Pennsylvania Station in the place marked "Inquiries." You know the
Johnnies I mean. You go up to them and say: "When's the next train for Melonsquashville,
Tennessee?" and they reply, without stopping to think, "Two-forty-three, track ten, change at San
Francisco." And they're right every time. Well, Jeeves gives you just the same impression of
omniscience.--Ch. 1
Wooster is the amiable and naive man-of-leisure, while Jeeves as quintessential British gentleman,
older and wiser, is friend and valet to him. Their tales usually involve Wooster getting into some sort
of "scrape" with a woman, an Aunt, or the Law. Jeeves always comes to the rescue in his inimitably
modest, no-nonsense style. "He moves from point to point with as little uproar as a jelly fish." (Ch. 3,
My Man Jeeves). The duo became popular literary icons, embodying the dry acerbic wit and humour of
the English, "Jeeves lugged my purple socks out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a
caterpillar out of his salad." (The Inimitable Jeeves) and have gone on to inspire numerous
adaptations for television, stage, and the screen. Their first appearance was in Wodehouse's short
story "Extricating Young Gussie" printed in 1915 in The Saturday Evening Post.
Many of Wodehouse's stories were first published in such magazines as Punch, Cosmopolitan, Collier's,
The New Yorker, The Strand, and Vanity Fair before being published as collections. Other popular
characters of Wodehouse's are Wooster's Aunt Dahlia "My Aunt Dahlia has a carrying voice... If all
other sources of income failed, she could make a good living calling the cattle home across the Sands
of Dee". (Very Good, Jeeves (1930), his domineering Aunt Agatha "the curse of the Home Counties
and a menace to one and all." (Right Ho, Jeeves), dandy Rupert Psmith, and the absent-minded Lord
Emsworth of Wodehouse's "Blandings Castle" series. While Wodehouse is a master of parody and
prose, he also worked as theatre critic, and collaborated on a number of musical comedies and their
lyrics including Cole Porter's Anything Goes (1934).
Pelham "Plum" Grenville Wodehouse was born on 15 October 1881 in Guildford, Surrey, England, the
third of four sons born to Eleanor and Henry Ernest Wodehouse (1845-1929), who at the time of his
birth was working as a judge in Hong Kong. After living there with his parents for a time, young Plum
was back in England to attend boarding school. In 1894 he entered Dulwich College, graduating in
1900. For the next two years he was employed with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in London, but
soon realised he had little interest in the banking world and started to write. He would now spend
much time between England the United States. While in New York, he obtained his first position as
journalist. His first novel The Pothunters was published in 1902. It was followed by A Prefect's Uncle
(1903), Love Among the Chickens (1906), The Swoop (1909), Psmith In The City (1910), Psmith,
Journalist (1915), and The Prince and Betty (1914). While writing for various magazines, he also
started to collaborate on musicals. Also while in New York, in 1914 Wodehouse married Ethel née
Newton; the couple had no children of their own but Ethel had a daughter, Leonora.
In 1930 Wodehouse began his first stint as screenwriter with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Hollywood, of
which he is said to have joked about how much he got paid for doing so little. A few years later the
Wodehouses settled in Le Touquet, France. During World War II they were interned by the Germans
for just under a year; Wodehouse later spoke of his experience in radio broadcasts from Berlin to his
fans in America. This caused a furore at the British Broadcasting Corporation, his books to be removed
from shelves, and many false accusations to be landed against him including treason and collaborating
with the Nazis. George Orwell wrote "In Defence of P. G. Wodehouse" (1946);
"In the desperate circumstances of the time, it was excusable to be angry at what Wodehouse did, but
to go on denouncing him three or four years later--and more, to let an impression remain that he
acted with conscious treachery--is not excusable."

Back in America and away from the controversy, Wodehouse continued to write and collaborate on
plays. He and Ethel settled in Remsenburg, Long Island, New York State. In 1955 he became a US
citizen and continued his prodigious output of stories and novels including Meet Mr. Milliner (1927),
Doctor Sally (1932), Quick Service (1940), The Old Reliable (1951), Uneasy Money (1917), A Damsel
In Distress (1919), Jill The Reckless (1920), The Adventures of Sally (1923), A Pelican at Blandings
(1969), The Girl In Blue (1971), and his last novel Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (1974). Wodehouse's
posthumous autobiographical publication Performing Flea: a self-portrait in letters (1953) is titled after
Irish playwright Sean O'Casey's reference to Wodehouse as "English literature's performing flea"; the
series of letters contained in it were revised in 1962 and re-titled Author! Author!
After years of being blocked by the British Foreign Office for his war time radio broadcasts and
ensuing controversy, and mere weeks before his death, in 1975 Wodehouse was Knighted Commander
of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. P. G. Wodehouse died on 14 February 1975.
Ethel died in 1984 and now rests with him in the Remsenberg Cemetery in New York State, USA.
"Precisely, sir," said Jeeves. "If I might make the suggestion, sir, I should not continue to wear your
present tie. The green shade gives you a slightly bilious air. I should strongly advocate the blue with
the red domino pattern instead, sir."
"All right, Jeeves." I said humbly. "You know!"--"The Aunt and the Sluggard", My Man Jeeves
Biography written by C. D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2008. All Rights Reserved.
The above biography is copyrighted. Do not republish it without permission.

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Recent Forum Posts on P. G. Wodehouse


Overlook collector's editions worth the price?
I'd appreciate any thoughts on this. Are the Overlook editions (The Collector's Wodehouse) worth the
extra cost? How are they different from Penguin Books' paperbacks?
Posted By lpcpcc at Tue 14 Aug 2007, 5:06 PM in Wodehouse, P. G. || 1 Reply

Introduction to Wodehouse?
I was at the bookstore today and examining volumes of P.G. Wodehouse. There were standalones,
Jeeves books, and Blandings books. I was quite lost despite looking at the listing of titles inside each
books. Where does one recommend I start?
Posted By Stieg at Sun 8 Apr 2007, 1:39 AM in Wodehouse, P. G. || 4 Replies

"Canada is So Bracing"
I have an old xeroxed copy of "Canada is So Bracing", a delightful piece that was published in Punch in
the 1950s. I would like to have this in a document format so I can keep it in my computer. I can't find
it online. Does anyone have this article in a doc or wps format? Thanks, Jan
Posted By janhunt at Tue 13 Mar 2007, 2:12 AM in Wodehouse, P. G. || 3 Replies

How old was everyone here when they started reading Wodehouse?
What ho! I was wondering at what age everyone here began reading (and loving) Wodehouse?
Everyone I know personally who is a fan began reading him as a child. I started at 8 years old. I
would be grateful for as many answers as possible! I'm thinking of ways to increase readership, and
your answers would be very helpful!
Posted By Haya at Wed 30 Aug 2006, 6:58 AM in Wodehouse, P. G. || 21 Replies

P.G. Wodehouse: A Poll


What ho, fellow Eggs and Beans and Crumpets! And now a questionnaire that will test you sorely,
exercising the little grey cells as never before: (a) Who's the best Wodehouse character? (b) Which is
the best Wodehouse novel? My own choices: (a) Bertie Wooster (runners-up: Jeeves, Uncle Fred, Aunt
Dahlia); (b) Thank You, Jeeves (runner-up: The Code of the Woosters)
Posted By Mary Sue at Mon 24 Jul 2006, 7:06 AM in Wodehouse, P. G. || 12 Replies

Wodehouse: Wonderful poetic lunacy


I'm been reading Wodehouse since I was 15 and while I love nearly all his stuff, I find the
Jeeves/Wooster cycle to be his finest achievement. The Jeeves books are ALL top-notch and oojah-
cum-spiff, particularly those published between 1930 and 1949. VERY GOOD, JEEVES is one solid belly
laugh, with all those vintage stories about Bertie Wooster's various antics: puncturing the hot-water
bottle, sliding down water-pipes to escape an irate Aunt Agatha, etc. etc. And THANK YOU, JEEVES----
the first PGW that I ever read, a real classic, vintage stuff about our bumbling hero trying
(unsuccessfully) to survive all sorts of ghastly vicissitudes without his smarter servant. And RIGHT HO,
JEEVES, with that freak Gussie presenting the prizes at Market Snodsbury Grammar School...and
THHE CODE OF THE WOOSTERS, best parody of a whodunit that I've ever read...and JOY IN THE
MORNING, with all those crazy botched quotations, 'fretful porpentine' and so forth... and let's not
forget THE MATING SEASON, which is simply an old-fashioned musical comedy without the music!
Great stuff, all of it. As for the Blandings books, all the titles are good, but I would especially
recommend LEAVE IT TO PSMITH, SUMMER LIGHTNING, and UNCLE FRED IN THE SPRINGTIME. And
then there's that wonderful stand-alone book, LAUGHING GAS, which I love. It's PG's one foray into
science fiction.
Posted By Mary Sue at Sat 8 Jul 2006, 12:18 PM in Wodehouse, P. G. || 3 Replies

Jeeves and Wooster


Hi there, 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) Morten
Posted By MortenSchoubye at Wed 5 Apr 2006, 4:00 AM in Wodehouse, P. G. || 5 Replies

Which Wodehouse Novel ...?


Which Wodehouse novel features the young protagonist having to go to the stern and disapproving
father twice to say he is engaged to his daughter, and then to his niece? This almost happens to Bertie
in one of the Jeeves books, but as it turns out he never goes back the second time. I am certain I
have read the scene and thought it the funniest, most awkward situation in all of Wodehouse, but
when I look back I cannot find it! Please Wodehouse fans help me out! You can email me.
Posted By Jimmo at Fri 27 Jan 2006, 10:35 AM in Wodehouse, P. G. || 3 Replies

Any Wodehouse fans here?


Hello.. Any Wodehouse fans here? Haven't seen any activity around this area... Light comedy and
satire, anyone? :)
Posted By Vindicated at Tue 17 Jan 2006, 7:14 AM in Wodehouse, P. G. || 25 Replies

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