P. G. Wodehouse - Writings

Writings

Wodehouse was a prolific author, writing 96 books in his remarkable seventy-three-year long career (1902 to 1975). His works include novels, collections of short stories, and musical comedies. Many characters and locations appear repeatedly throughout his short stories and novels, leading readers to classify his work by "series":

  • The Blandings Castle stories (later dubbed "the Blandings Castle Saga" by Wodehouse), about the upper-class inhabitants of the fictional rural Blandings Castle. Includes the eccentric Lord Emsworth, obsessed by his prize-winning pig, the "Empress of Blandings", and at one point by his equally prize-winning pumpkin ("Hope of Blandings", but, mockingly, "Percy" to Emsworth's unappreciative second son Freddie Threepwood).
  • The Drones Club stories, about the mishaps of certain members of a raucous social club for London's idle rich. Drones Club stories always involve unnamed club members known as "Eggs", "Beans" and "Crumpets" (after the habit of addressing each other as "old egg", "old bean" or "old crumpet"); in each story, a well-informed Crumpet will endeavour to tell an Egg or Bean of the latest exploits of another Drones Club member, most frequently Freddie Widgeon or Bingo Little. Also featured are a cast of recurrent bit players such as Club millionaire Oofy Prosser.
  • The Golf and Oldest Member stories. They are built around one of Wodehouse's passions, the sport of golf, which all characters involved consider the only important pursuit in life. The Oldest Member of the golf course clubhouse tells most of them, usually to unwilling listeners who would prefer to be elsewhere.
  • The Jeeves and Wooster stories, narrated by the wealthy, scatterbrained Bertie Wooster. A number of stories and novels that recount the improbable and unfortunate situations in which he and his friends find themselves and the manner in which his ingenious valet Jeeves is always able to extricate them. Collectively called "the Jeeves stories", or "Jeeves and Wooster", they are Wodehouse's most famous. The Jeeves stories are a valuable compendium of pre–World War II English slang in use. One of the Jeeves and Wooster stories, "Bertie Changes His Mind" (originally published in 1922) is narrated by Jeeves instead of by Bertie.
  • The Mr Mulliner stories, narrated by a genial pub raconteur who can take any topic of conversation and turn it into an involved, implausible story about a member of his family. Most of Mr. Mulliner's stories involve one or another of his innumerable nephews. His listeners are always identified solely by their drinks, e.g., a "Hot Scotch and Lemon" or a "Double Whisky and Splash".
  • The School stories, which launched Wodehouse's career with their comparative realism. They are often located at the fictional public schools of St. Austin's or Wrykyn.
  • The Psmith stories, about an ingenious jack-of-all-trades with a charming, exaggeratedly refined manner. The final Psmith story, Leave it to Psmith, overlaps the Blandings stories in that Psmith works for Lord Emsworth, lives for a time at Blandings Castle, and becomes a friend of Freddie Threepwood. Psmith first appeared in the school novel Mike.
  • The Ukridge stories, about the charming but unprincipled Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge, always looking to enlarge his income through the reluctant assistance of his friend in his schemes. Besides the short stories, there is one novel about him: Love Among the Chickens.
  • The Uncle Fred stories, about the eccentric Earl of Ickenham. Whenever he can escape his wife's chaperonage, he likes to spread what he calls "sweetness and light" and others are likely to call chaos. His escapades, always involving impersonations of some sort, are usually told from the viewpoint of his nephew and reluctant companion Reginald "Pongo" Twistleton. Several times he performs his "art" at Blandings Castle.
  • The stand-alone stories. Stories which are not part of a series (although they may contain overlapping minor characters), such as Piccadilly Jim, Quick Service, Summer Moonshine, Sam the Sudden, and Laughing Gas.

Almost all of these series overlap: Psmith appears in a "School" story and a Blandings novel; Bertie Wooster is a member of the Drones Club; Uncle Fred and Pongo Twistleton appear in both the Blandings Saga and the Drones club stories; Bingo Little is a regular character in the Jeeves Stories and the Drones Club stories, etc.

Read more about this topic:  P. G. Wodehouse

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    Even in my own writings I cannot always recover the meaning of my former ideas; I know not what I meant to say, and often get into a regular heat, correcting and putting a new sense into it, having lost the first and better one. I do nothing but come and go. My judgement does not always forge straight ahead; it strays and wanders.
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    It has come to be practically a sort of rule in literature, that a man, having once shown himself capable of original writing, is entitled thenceforth to steal from the writings of others at discretion. Thought is the property of him who can entertain it; and of him who can adequately place it. A certain awkwardness marks the use of borrowed thoughts; but, as soon as we have learned what to do with them, they become our own.
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