Like so many things you learn as a child, the writers you read as you grow up will affect you for life. I admit that’s just my opinion, I don’t have absolute scientific proof, but it’s definitely been true for me.
Despite Wodehouse being born in 1881, and me in 1972, I still found his work spoke to me, a little girl on an English council estate. It was the humour, the brilliant characters and the pricking of pompous old British traditions within the class structure and the concept of the inherited privilege of Lords and Ladies in their country mansions. From that perspective it was actually quite political.
But beyond any socio-political elements, his books were also very funny and satisfying to read. I firmly believe that reading P.G.Wodehouse (Pelham Grenville Wodehouse) from a young age changed the way I thought, the way I wrote, the things I found funny, how I believed a good story should be written, what made a good character and how an enjoyable story should end. A writing masterclass in fact.
The title of this post is based on one of my favourite Wodehouse books, ‘Leave it to Psmith’ published in Britain in 1923. I still find it funny, romantic and exciting, despite it all being based in very different times and with old fashioned social mores. Perhaps because of this (and difficult modern life?) it’s definitely my comfort read. And if you want to know how to pronounce Psmith you should read it and find out…
When Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry (pictured above) brilliantly depicted Jeeves and Wooster on BBC television in the 1990’s even more people discovered the humour and charm of Wodehouse. The show was great, but the books are still worth reading!
Wodehouse’s birthday is 15 October, so I’m a bit late in celebrating him here. but hope you’ll join me in raising a glass of your favourite tipple (or cup of tea) to Plum, as he was affectionately known to friends and family, this month at your own version of the Drones Club, an exclusive gentlemen’s club and favourite hang out of Bertie Wooster.
The picture below is of Buck’s clubhouse at number 18 Clifford Street, London which was one of the clubs the Drones was based on.
Until next time, toodle-pip old bean!