Some P.G. Wodehouse Books

(actualisé le ) by Ray

Very Good, Jeeves! [1]

Although I have always been a P.G. Wodehouse fan (how can one possibly not be?), I have tended to avoid the Jeeves books on the (foolishly mistaken) grounds that they would be too predictable, preferring the almost-always-wildly-funny collections of stories about Archie (Indiscretions of Archie, Eggs, Beans and Crumpets, …) and Blandings Castle (Summer Lightening, Heavy Weather, …) or the Psmith books or, well, anything, really, by the funniest writer - in any language, probably - of the 20th Century.

But halfway through this collection of Jeeves stories, first published in 1930, I had laughed so much that I was starting to wonder if this wasn’t the funniest book of them all, and although the second half wasn’t quite up to the side-splitting standard of the first half, I am certainly looking forward to laughing my way through the first three in the J series (Carry On, Jeeves, My Man Jeeves and The Inimitable Jeeves).

When in despair with fortune and men’s eyes ... read Wodehouse!

A Wodehouse Bestiary [2]

I was extremely lucky to find this marvellous collection of Wodehouse stories, all featuring animals of various sorts: dogs and cats of course but also an amazing variety of beasts which Wodehouse lovingly placed at the heart of many of his best stories throughout his prolific and long-lasting career (he wrote 100 books and hundreds of stories during his 70 years of writing), so we have here Jeeves helping Bertie Wooster get out of the big trouble he’s in with an angry, bad-tempered swan; a pet snake messing up a foolish young critic’s love life in a big way; the zany Uncle Fred and a pet parrot generally wreaking havoc on a massive scale; monkey business in Hollywood; and the feckless Ukridge going off the deep end when his scheme to make millions by teaching dog tricks runs afoul of his redoubtable Aunt Julia. There are a couple of excellent (of course) Bertie Wooster and Jeeves stories involving racehorses and cats as well as assorted aunts and fiancées, there is a very very funny account of the overpowering hunting madness that overtakes visitors to an old country estate, and there is the splendid story of the domineering cat Webster and his fall from grace; but the crowning jewels in this wonderful book just have to be the great all-time classic Pig Hooey, featuring Lord Emsworth and his prize pig the Empress of Blandings, and a final extraordinarily original and charming story, The Mixer, about a too-friendly dog’s misadventures as narrated by the quite unforgettable animal himself. This was not the first time I have read this joy-giving book, nor will it be the last!

Carry On Jeeves [3]

A modern classic, this was the very first collection of Jeeves stories and thereby starts with Jeeves Takes Charge where Berty first meets his master and chief getter-out-of-trouble. Witty and brilliant, I didn’t stop chuckling from start to end.

The Inimitable Jeeves [4]

This was one of the early collection of Jeeves stories that initially brought fame and acclaim to P.G., and an essential one I would say, featuring not only the light-hearted, likeable and, it must be said, rather numbskullish young Bertie Wooster and his admirably resourceful and brainy butler Jeeves, but also Bertie’s old chum Bingo Little, whose adventurous love life provides the main thread that links these famously funny stories just brimming over with the joie-de-vivre and nonchalant gaiety that so characterize the inimitable world of P.G. Wodehouse.

Footnotes

[1Penguin Books 1957, 264 p.

[2Tickno & Fields, ed. D.R. Benson 1985, 329 p.

[3Penguin Books, 1975, 245 p.

[4Penguin Books 1999, 226 p.