Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Wodehouse Effect

Valentine's Day (as far as I am concerned) is less a celebration of the antics of the Winged Archer, than it is in memoriam one of my favourite authors, Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. For it was on this day, thirty winters back, that the Perveyor of Delight left this world. And left us an enchanting world of erudite butlers and half-crazy earls with their much-despised second sons.

There is Lord Emsworth who prefers pottering about in his garden to attending to his duties as the Master of Castle Blandings. When he is not thus pottering about, he dotes on his prize sow: watching her during day-time, and listening to her breathe in the nights (since it is too dark to watch).

The most famous of his characters is the duo of Jeeves (the omniscient valet: "gentleman's personal gentleman") and his aunt-fearing employer Bertie Wooster, on whom Ogden Nash has written a joyful poem.

But my personal favourite is Rupert Psmith (P silent as in pthiasis, ptarmigan and pterodactyl) the monocle-wearing socialist Cambridge graduate. I have read Psmith Journalist a trillion times.

Wodehouse made woolen-headed half-wits like Wooster and Emsworth heroes. O master, can you please work the same magic with me...

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