Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ring For Jeeves, by P. G Wodehouse


I think George Orwell was a bit of a closet fan of P. G Wodehouse. In his essay, In Defense of P. G Wodehouse, an ostensibly political essay examining Wodehouse's participating in some five broadcasts for the Nazis after he was 'captured' in Belgium, Orwell took the time to discuss Wodehouse's literary oeuvre.


Orwell writes that he has 'followed' his work closely since 1911, when Orwell was around eight years old. One presumes that Orwell could also have written 'enjoyed'. Eight year olds only read books they enjoy.


I note this because it shows that even the most penetrating intellects find something of value in the Wodehouse books.


Wodehouse's books are of course light frothy fun, and nothing much more. Their basis is that particularly British form of eccentricity and unreality. The main characters of Wodehouse's novels frequently find themselves 'in the soup'. They are silly aristocrats who do anything but work.


In the Jeeves books there is always the more intelligent servant ready to get the child like aristocrats out of trouble. He's a kind of saviour always there ready with a plan to help, someone who can effortlessly create harmony out of chaos.


Wodehouse writes 'toy' books, in my opinion, but there's nothing wrong with enjoying toys. And this is one that I very much enjoyed.

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