Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Love of Words and Phrases

P.G. Wodehouse was born in Britain on October 15, 1881, and died in America on February 14, 1975, at the age of 93.  He wrote humorously for 73 years! 

He is well known for his Bertie Wooster and butler Jeeves books.  The plot line is format:  Bertie gets into a scam or a scheme; Jeeves saves the day.  This series is a part of his 90 novels, 300 short stories as well as collaborations with musical productions as a lyricist for such as Noel Coward. 

Wodehouse had an enormous vocabulary in English, Greek and Latin and inventiveness in a lot of his prose.  The Bertie-Jeeves books take place post WW1 and are filled with the slang of the upper class.  "Lemon" or "bean" for "head."  "I scratched the old bean and said..."  Everyone prized and competed  for most originality or most wit.   "Pop your clogs" and "hand in your lunch bucket" both signify death. 

Throughout his books, there is a lightness of being; the characters may thrash around on the horns of various dilemmas but the reader knows that all will end as it should.  There is no darkness. 

And this is interesting why? you mutter?  Because Wodehouse mantel, dropped at his death, has been picked up, dusted off and slung around the manly shoulders of one Sebastian Faulks, a London writer.  The Wodehouse estate permitted him access to various papers and approved Faulks homage to Wodehouse -- "Jeeves and the Wedding Bells." 

"Jeeves and the Wedding Bells" by Sebastian Faulks  St. Martin's Press   243 pages   $25.99

No comments: