Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Plum

wodehouseToday in Guildford, England, in 1881, P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse was born. He moved to the United States in 1909 and began to write for the Saturday Evening Post. His most famous creations are, of course, Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, but Psmith, Blandings Castle, and the Oldest Member are justifiably well-known and loved, too. Wodehouse also wrote a huge number of song lyrics for musical comedies, and worked with Jerome Kern and Cole Porter, among others. Although his books are light comedies, they are extraordinarily tightly plotted - and he achieves heights of genius with Wooster: it's not easy to write from the point of view of someone so dim while keeping the character and the book amusing and coherent.

"...Have you ever had a what-do-you-call-it? What's the word I want? One of those things fellows get sometimes."
"Headaches?" hazarded George.
"No, no. I don't mean anything you get -- I mean something you get if you know what I mean."
"Measles?"
"Anonymous letter. That's what I was trying to say."

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