P.G. Wodehouse, “Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves”

It was startling to finish Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, and find that it was copyrighted in 1962. P.G. Wodehouse hit his stride — well, you could say in 1919, with the publication of four stories as My Man, Jeeves. (Something tells me there are clubs and associations that take all this dating business quite seriously.) The first full-length novel is Right Ho, Jeeves, published in 1934. By the time Wodehouse got around to writing Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, very little had changed, including the menace posed to Bertie’s equanimity by the prospect of marrying Madeline Bassett. She’s attractive enough, except for “that squashy soupiness of hers, that subtle air she had of being on the point of talking baby talk. She was the sort of girl who puts her hands over a husband’s eyes, as he is crawling in to breakfast with a  morning head, and says, ‘Guess who?'” Newt-loving Gussie Fink-Nottle appears, sober; Aunt Agatha stays away. Bertie is in fine form as ever: confronting a menacing fellow-house guest he says, “I think if Spode had been about three feet shorter and not so wide across the shoulders, I would have laughed a mocking laugh and quite possibly have flicked my cambric handkerchief in his face.” Sometimes you do want a writer to produce the same book again and again.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
This entry was posted in anglophilia, best seller, classic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to P.G. Wodehouse, “Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves”

  1. Barbara says:

    I read this book earlier this year (free on Kindle!) How can you not just love Wodehouse? You’re right about him essentially producing the same book over and over and I couldn’t care less that the books are formulaic. They are hilariously well-written and have made me laugh so hard in the solitude of my own home that i have startled my dogs!!

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