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miranda



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 758


Location: over there somewhere

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:48 pm    Post subject: Wodehouse  Reply with quote

I've just been to the library and felt in the mood for Wodehouse so picked up a couple.   I started reading one on the train and was giggling like a mad thing within about 5 mins!  You know that moment when you look up and realise everyone is, or has just been, looking at you........ Embarassed

Anyway, I'm reading Very Good, Jeeves, a collection of short stories and it is Wodehouse on absolutely sparkling form!  Even the preface is funny!


Quote:
The Right Hon. was a tubby little chap who looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and forgotten to say 'When!'



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this your first Wodehouse book? If so, welcome to the club. If your taste in humour is anything like mine, soon you'll be an addict.

Wodehouse was very prolific, and most of hs novels and stories belong to one or other of a series. There's the Jeeves & Wooster series, of course - consisting of 14 books: the first three are collections of short stories - including a few that had appeared earlier on their own), an dthe rest are novels. This series is consistently inspired: only the last - Aunts Aren't Gentlemen shows a dip in form, and that's understandable given that Wodehouse was about 90 when he wrote it. For many, the best of this fine series are the three novels Right Ho Jeeves, The Code of the Woosters and Joy in the Morning, but it would be a shame to miss out on any of them. (There are also a couple of J&W stories that appear in other collections.)

Then, there's the Blandings Castle series, and ... tell you what, there are far too many for me to go through here, so why don't you have a browse around this wonderful site?

http://www.blandings.org.uk/index.htm

Happy reading!


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2972


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed the PSmith book I read, but when I tried to read a Jeeves and Wooster one I could just see Fry and Laurie there and it seemed unnecessary to read it!  I was thinking of asking whether I should therefore read the Blandings series but our library seems to be getting rid of Wodehouse not expanding it.  

Cheers, Caro.


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry were excellent, but the scripts were variable. There was far too much knockabout slapstick which isn't really Wodehousian, and the relocation of many of the stories to an American setting was a disaster - especially with something like, say, Joy in the Morning, which is an archetypal English country house farce. And of course, no matter how good Hugh Laurie's performance (and it is, indeed, very good), you do need Bertie's inimitable narrative voice. So no, good as the series was (at least in parts), it doesn't come close to displacing those wonderful books!

The Psmith books are fine in their own way, but Wodehouse hadn't actually found his own distinctive voice when he wrote them. The exception to this is the last of the Psmith books - Leave it To Psmith - a classic Wodehouse farce (one of his best) which finds Psmith in Blandings Castle.

Blandings Castle, complete with the wonderfully dotty Lord Emsworth, first appears in a hilarious early novel called Something Fresh. The famous prize pig - The Empress of Blandings - is actually a later invention: that appears for the first time in one of the short stories in the collection entitled Blandings Castle. By the time of Leave It to Psmith, the Blandings series really got into full swing, and the two that followed - Summer Lightning and Heavy Weather - are among Wodehouse's best. Equally good is Uncle Fred in the Springtime, in which another of Wodehouse's wonderfully eccentric characters (Lord Ickenham - a.k.a. Uncle Fred) finds himself in Blandings.

After this, I suppose the quality declines slightly, but only slightly: the next three novels, Full Moon, Pigs Have Wings and Service With a Smile (the last featuring Uncle Fred again) are all delightful works. (And don't forget the wonderful short story "Crime Wave at Blandings" that features in the collection Lord Emsworth and Others.) After that, I'm afraid, the quality really dips - but there's more than enough in the series already to provide an entire lifetime's worth of pleasure. Indeed, it's often a point of contention amongst Wodehouse fans as to which is his finest series - the Jeeves & Wooster, or the Blandings Castle.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2972


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Himadri.  It was Leave it to Psmith that I read, but one of the reasons I liked it was the little romance in it!  The comedy for me was a sideline!

Perhaps I should try another Jeeves and W now that it is some time since the series aired here (why can't we have some repeats of these instead of the drivel we do have?)

Cheers, Caro.


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Evie
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 3569


Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I *loved* the Psmith books - they were the first Wodehouse I read.

I struggle a bit with the novels, as they aren't very good as novels per se, but the humour is wonderful, and they do make me laugh out loud - I have only read a couple of them, admittedly, and will certainly carry on reading, as I love things that make me laugh.  And the great thing is that I can read them again and again and they make me laugh as much each time.  They are all the same story of course - the Jeeves and Wooster ones, I mean, I haven't read any of the Blandings ones, so those are something to look forward to.

I am a huge fan of the series - though even in terms of that, I thought the American ones were weak, the only plus being the lovely art deco sets - and can hear Fry and Laurie in their respective characters' dialogue as I am reading.  They also ended up with actors changing quite a bit - the first Madeline Bassett ends up as Florence Craye, but the final Madeline is superb so that was a change worth making - the first one wasn't nearly dippy enough.  (I think there are three different actresses who play her, but when they finally settled on one, she was the best - feel bad I can't remember her name.)


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miranda



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 758


Location: over there somewhere

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord no, Himadri!  I've been reading Wodehouse since I was a kid!    Laughing

It's just that sometimes I feel like reading him and sometimes I don't.  But it's always a joy to come back to him.

Uncle Fred is also one of my favourites.  'Stepping high, wide and handsome....'

It's been a long while since I read a Psmith.  I'll shall have to try and find one.



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Miranda - you're obviously a Wodehouse fan of long standing, and I'm not sure what gave me the impression that you were just starting out on his works. I've not been quite myself lately... Smile


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miranda



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 758


Location: over there somewhere

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So ..... who have you been then?


Wink



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miranda



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himadri, have you read Ukridge?




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