Category Archive 'P.G. Wodehouse'

20 May 2016

The Donald Visits Jeeves and Wooster

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Roderick Spode — Donald Trump

Ben Schott, in the Spectator, imagines The Man of the Hour putting in an appearance in the World of P.G. Wodehouse. Trump inevitably reminds Bertie of Roderick Spode.

I sat alone at breakfast, forking my E and B …, when a haircut burst into the room closely followed by a bovine gentleman the colour of turmeric.

‘Ah, you must be Worcestershire! Your uncle Tom has told me all about you.’

‘It’s Wooster, actually, but call me Bertie, everyone does.’

‘And you can call me The Donald,’ barked Trump, setting about the breakfast dishes like a haystack in search of a needle.

Hat tip to Sarah Hoyt.

25 May 2012

Good For a Smile

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The Drones Club has a web-page which generates a P.G. Wodehouse gem every time you refresh it.

Sample: He looked haggard and careworn, like a Borgia who has suddenly remembered that he has forgotten to shove cyanide in the consomme, and the dinner-gong due any moment.

Carry On, Jeeves (1925) “Clustering round Young Bingo”

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

08 Jan 2008

Hillary From the Wodehousian Perspective

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Alex Massie debates whether Hillary is more like Honoria Glossop or more like Florence Cray.

Dipping into The Inimitable Jeeves last night, it struck me that, for a certain kind of chap, Hillary is the Honoria Glossop of the presidential campaign. It’s not just that Hillary’s now infamous “cackle” is dangerously reminiscent of Miss Glossop’s laugh “that sounded like a squadron of cavalry charging across a tin bridge.”

No, it’s more that Hillary too often gives the impression of sharing Honoria’s horrifying determination to mould a fellow. To wit, one can easily imagine Hillary addressing a chap, thus:

    “I think” she said “I shall be able to make something of you, Bertie. It is true yours has been a wasted life up to the present, but you are still young, and there is a lot of good in you…It simply wants bringing out.”

But what if you don’t want bringing out? Opting out ain’t an option with this sort of girl. And it gets worse. When Hillary isn’t being Honoria Glossop she’s reminding one of Florence Craye. Now it’s true that Bertie was briefly infatuated with Miss Craye. But that was until he engaged Jeeves and was persuaded that Miss Craye was a thoroughly unsuitable match (See Carry On, Jeeves for the details). As Bertie realised:

    “The root of the trouble was that she was one of those intellectual girls, steeped to the gills in serious purpose, who are unable to see a male soul without wanting to get behind it and shove.”

Some of us might prefer to remain un-shoved. Worse still, whenever a girl of Florence’s type engages one to stick one’s neck out for her – by, for instance, stealing a manuscript – she tries to persuade you that it’s really for your own advantage. She risks nothing, of course, whereas your allowance is endangered. But no, she will say:

    “I wonder you can’t appreciate the compliment I am paying you – trusting you like this”

Alas, I can just hear Hillary putting it like that. Can’t you?

Hat tip to Professor Bainbridge.

27 Dec 2007

Russia Loves P.G. Wodehouse

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The Telegraph reports this interesting development.

Outlawed by Stalin in 1929, P G Wodehouse – or Pyelem G Vudhaus as he is known – has undergone a remarkable revival since the ban on his books was lifted in 1990.

There can be few fans as dedicated, however, as Mr Kuzmenko.

As president and founder of the Russian Wodehouse Society he has attracted over 3,000 members, some from as far away as Cheliabinsk and Omsk, thousands of miles to the east. His monthly Wodehouse dinners at the Cleopatra and elsewhere are always sold out.

The actors Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie have played their part. Ever since their acclaimed television portrayal of Jeeves and Wooster was dubbed into Russian, young fans have started flocking to the club.

Wodehouse translations have mushroomed and even a souring of Anglo-Russian relations has done little to dim the enthusiasm for this quintessentially English author.

“If you look around on the metro you can see lots of people reading Wodehouse,” said Tatyana Komoryeva, a 25-year-old accountant. “All the bookshops, even the small ones, are guaranteed to sell at least some of his books.”

That there is a Wodehouse fellowship at all, though, is largely thanks to Natalya Trauberg. A self-taught English speaker, the 79-year-old former dissident risked transportation to the gulags under Stalin for translating the theological works of C S Lewis and G K Chesterton in samizdat.

Although she came across an English copy of Damsel in Distress in 1946 (only Russian translations were banned), Mrs Trauberg was too frightened to attempt a translation until 1989. Her first attempt, the Blandings short story Birth of a Salesman, was also produced in samizdat – not for political reasons but because publishers doubted that there would be any public interest.

“From 1929 to 1990 very few, if any, Russians knew anything of Wodehouse,” she said. “It was a big gamble.” As the popularity of the books spread and the publishers changed their mind, a forerunner of the Russian Wodehouse Society was formed, with each member taking their name from a Wodehouse character.

Mrs Trauberg became the Princess of Matchingham, the scheming Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe’s pig.

It might seem odd that Russians find such an affinity with tales of young upper-class twits stealing policemen’s helmets and elderly upper-class twits stealing each other’s pigs. After all, Wodehouse – who died in 1975 – only really touches on matters Russian in The Clicking of Cuthbert when a Soviet author recounts how an assassination attempt caused Lenin to miss a two-inch putt whilst playing golf with Trotsky.

For Mrs Trauberg, however, Russia’s love affair with the author is far from surprising. As decades of repression has given way to a new era of cut-throat commercialism, Wodehouse represents a madcap innocence that many Russians yearn to emulate.

“Russians need freedom and laughter very much,” she said. “They had none for so long. Wodehouse encapsulates this spirit of freedom.

“He also saves souls. His books are all about innocence and joy and purity.

“The reader is lifted into an English paradise, which many Russians believe is the best paradise of all.”

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