December 15, 2004

Calling All Wodehouse Lovers

Much to the detriment of my reputation as a literary lionness, I must admit that I have never read any of P.G. Wodehouse's work. Thinking it was time I remedied this problem, I was browsing through the online catalog of our local library system the other day and completely failed to suss out the beginnings of his enormous catalog. I have absolutely no clue as to where to start. Usually I can suss this sort of thing out with a little patience and perserverance. Not so with Wodehouse.


Do I read Blandings first or do I stick strictly with Jeeves?

Where did you, you estimable Wodehouse fans, start with your obsession? Gimme the details, too. I want the reasoning behind your choices.

I'm counting on you people. Don't let me down.

Posted by Kathy at December 15, 2004 02:55 PM

Oh, Kathy, I'm so envious of you! You get to read these wonderful books for the FIRST TIME!

Definitely stick to Jeeves. He and Bertie will introduce you to a plethora of interesting characters, from Bobbie Wickham ("she's dynamite!") to Gussie Fink-Nottle and his obsession with newts!

Furthermore, Wodehouse was at his absolute wittiest when writing about Jeeves and Wooster (though his golf stuff is pretty good too, but in small doses).

The "World of Mr. Mulliner" is a great read too; there's lots of overlap of characters with the Bertie and Jeeves stories.

Blandings? I hardly remember the stories at all.

(BTW, be sure to pick up the Jeeves and Wooster BBC series by the same name, it's wonderful).

Posted by: Pious Agnostic at December 15, 2004 07:15 PM

I'd say start with Bertie and Jeeves. Blandings is great too, once you've come to appreciate Wodehouse's style and characters, but I think it's easier to start with Jeeves.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 15, 2004 08:35 PM

Start with Psmith (Leave it to Psmith), which, according to the new Wodehouse bio by R. McCrum (now, that's a nice name for a Wodehouse character), is based on real-life's Rupert D'Oyly Carte (the Gilbert & Sullivan friend).

Posted by: Fausta at December 16, 2004 07:55 AM

Yikes! How did I miss this? One of my favorite topics!

I started out with the Bertie & Jeeves short stories - "Very Good, Jeeves" followed quickly by the Blandings novel Leave It To Psmith.

Don't forget the wealth of other non-B&J/Blandings materials available too. There are the Mulliner stories, also a wonderful collection of golf stories called "The Heart of a Goof". There are also many novels worth reading, among my favorites being Money in the Bank, Hot Water and Uneasy Money.

Good luck and have fun!

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at December 16, 2004 02:13 PM

If I could only choose between Bertie and Blandings, I'd do Bertie first. Really though, I'd start with his golf stories. They may be my all time favorites and I've never played a game of golf in my life.

Posted by: Jordana at December 16, 2004 02:31 PM

Robert, what's the name of the one from the 70's about the guy who collects glass paperweights? I'm not saying it's his best, but it's interesting to see Wodehouse's ever-so-Edwardian manners and attitudes translated into Swinging London....

Posted by: Pious Agnostic at December 16, 2004 02:31 PM

Leave it to Psmith and Code of the Woosters are excellent starting points, although Psmith in the City is also great. Wodehouse Playhouse is finally available on DVD, if you like to hear the Master's words spoken aloud. Pious, I think you are refrerring to the Purloined Paperweight. Not the best, but necessary to complete the collection, and somewhat hard to find.

Posted by: pinky at December 16, 2004 02:58 PM

I've never read Purloined Paperweight.

Code of the Woosters is probably the very best of the Bertie & Jeeves stories, along with Joy In The Morning, but I was thinking Kathy should get her feet wet before tackling those.

I have some of the Wodehouse Playhouse DVD's. Very funny indeed and a much, much better adaptation to the screen than that nasty Jeeves and Wooster series.

I recently came across a copy of Mike at Wrykyn, the first appearance of Psmith. If you like Psmith in the City, you should also try Psmith Journalist, which takes Mike and Smith to New York.

Oh, another recommendation: I've always loved Indiscretions of Archie.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at December 16, 2004 03:21 PM
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