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How to find the best of PG Wodehouse

Post by: Kabita Sonowal

P.G Wodehouse endearingly called Plum by his family and friends is known for his so-called quintessential British humor. He wrote novels, plays, and short stories delighting readers with stories that were reminiscent of his crème de la crème upbringing, schooling, and society. And to top it all, his works are timeless! He wrote some of the most elegant prose in British literature and this is obvious in all of the Jeeves and Blandings Castle books. His characters are unforgettable and his stories are a far-cry from venom-spitting crassness, wars, fights, and grief. He wove tales of people and the society in which he lived.



Wodehouse’s character Jeeves (Bertie Wooster’s butler) is based on a true butler whom Wodehouse had employed called Eugene Robinson. According to Wodehouse, his character was an inspiration to create Jeeves.  Jeeves was indispensable in Wooster’s life and Wodehouse wrote a series of novels based on Jeeves and Wooster. Some of the best stories with Bertie and Jeeves are:



- Aunts aren’t Gentlemen: The story lies in the sweet eccentricity of Bertie Wooster whose code is never refuse to marry a girl who wants to marry. It is a must-read for every Wodehouse reader.
- Extricating Young Gussie (a short story in which Bertie and Jeeves appeared for the first time) is where Bertie goes to meet his cousin Gussie in New York who seems to have fallen head-over-heels in love with a chorus girl in New York. After a whirl of confusion, it is a tale of all’s well that ends well.
Thank You, Jeeves:  This story was also adapted as a television series titled Jeeves in the Country and Kidnapped! It reveals Jeeves’ reconciliation with Bertie after an episode of excessive banjolele performance by Bertie.



The Pothunters, Wodehouse’s first published novel is based on the English public school system, where boys play cricket, rugby, and practice boxing and running and have tea at prep. The setting of these stories was a fictitious school called St. Austin’s. It is a feel-good peek into the growing up years of boys.



Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle stories are delightful and provide a lot of warmth to the heart. The settings of Blandings Castle are fictitious; however there has always been speculation about the setting that could have inspired the creation of Blandings. A lot of people believe that Apley Hall in Stockton Shropshire inspired the Blandings setting. The protagonist from Blandings is Lord Emsworth, the owner of Blandings, the ninth Earl. He is warm and scatter-brained and takes pride in his pig, the Empress of Blandings. Blandings is always inhabited by his daughters, other members of the family, and friends from time to time and all the Blandings stories are steeped in eccentricity and madness. Some of the most-memorable stories from the Blandings section are:



Leave it to Psmith: Psmith is Rupert Psmith as referred to in the other Blandings books. The story unfolds with the mystery of a missing necklace. There are a lot of characters whose foibles unfold in a light-hearted and delightful way.
- Galahad at Blandings: It is a tale of mild lunacy and yet again, the Empress of Blandings takes center stage.
- A Pelican at Blandings: It is a story flooded with Emsworth’s family, American millionaires, con artists, and love-struck people. The story revolves around a painting of a reclining nude and the people who want to steal it, thus upsetting the peace and quiet of Blandings Castle.
- Pigs have Wings: The Empress of Blandings takes center stage again with passion running high when at the local show, Emsworth’s neighbor Parsloe wants to outdo the Empress’ victory by looking for means to dampen Emsworth’s enthusiasm.



Some of the books mentioned here are not the only ones by Wodehouse. There is a plethora of books by him that bring a smile to one’s face.

1 Comment

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'plethora of books by him'... please. The word 'plethora' means 'a dangerous excess'. It is not a 'good' or 'happy' word. You might be thinking of the word 'plenitude'. Millions of morons are now using 'plethora' to mean 'a good supply', 'plenty' or 'a happy abundance', or whatever. It doesn't, so please don't imitate them.
Mon,Jan 28th 2013 2:05 AM