What ho, old beans! Ring the bell for the tea things and we’ll flap the old gums for a bit.
What’s gotten into me lately? There’s only one explanation. I’ve been reading P. G. Wodehouse. Not just reading- more like devouring. The past three books I’ve read have all been in the Jeeves series: The Inimitable Jeeves; Thank You, Jeeves; and Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves.
Some of you might be familiar with Bertram Wilberforce Wooster and his “gentleman’s person gentleman” (read: valet) Reginald Jeeves from the sixteen novels P. G. Wodehouse wrote about their misadventures in the early 20th century. Other of you might have enjoyed the TV series “Jeeves & Wooster”, starring the pictured Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, respectively. Most of you, however, will at least remember the former mascot of Ask.com, Jeeves the butler. Jeeves has since gone into retirement on the American version of the search engine, but in the
Bertie Wooster and Jeeves are definitely Wodehouse’s best-loved characters.
And in every single one of these cases, Jeeves has materialized, and with understated brilliance and impeccable grace, extricated his young master from the “horns of the dilemma”. Jeeves is a mysterious figure, who always appears in the exact moment when he is needed. Jeeves also has a particular fashion sensibility, and
Bertie was a member of a social class known as the “idle rich,” a class which comprised most of the High Society scene in
My favorite of the three Wodehouse books I’ve read so far is definitely The Inimitable Jeeves. It is most episodic than the other two, and easier to take in small doses. These stories, to me, are like children’s stories; humorous, light, clever, and, being marked with Jeeves’ presence, they have the guarantee of a happy ending.
Toodle pip and cheers, chaps!
PS. For all you P.G.W. devotees out there, the book “Plum Sauce” by Richard Usborne is a peerless companion to all things Wodehouse, and a must-have for every Jeeves and