A Random Sample of P. G. Wodehouse Novels
If you are ever feeling blue, the thing to do is pick up a P. G. Wodehouse novel. Within minutes, you will be in the hands of a master who can turn your frown upside down. I am currently most of the way through his The Girl in Blue. As I found myself laughing at Wodehouse’s mastery of the language, I thought I would share some of the funniest passages from his novels with you in this post.
Looking for a good place to start with Wodehouse’s books? I would recommend any of the Jeeves novels (particularly The Code of the Woosters) or the ones featuring Blandings Castle (such as Full Moon). You can find an extensive bibliography here.
In the meantime, here’s a sample of some of Wodehouse’s most penetrating observations:
A certain critic—for such men, I regret to say, do exist—made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained ‘all the old Wodehouse characters under different names.’ He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have out-generalled the man this time by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy.
He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.
He had the look of one who had drunk the cup of life and found a dead beetle at the bottom.
At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.
“What ho!” I said.
“What ho!” said Motty.
“What ho! What ho!”
“What ho! What ho! What ho!”
After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.
Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoy’s Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day’s work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city’s reservoir, he turns to the cupboards, only to find the vodka bottle empty.
I’m not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it‘s Shakespeare who says that it‘s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.
A melancholy-looking man, he had the appearance of one who has searched for the leak in life’s gas-pipe with a lighted candle.
Mike nodded. A sombre nod. The nod Napoleon might have given if somebody had met him in 1812 and said, “So, you’re back from Moscow, eh?”
“Oh, Jeeves,” I said; “about that check suit.”
“Is it really a frost?”
“A trifle too bizarre, sir, in my opinion.”
“But lots of fellows have asked me who my tailor is.”
“Doubtless in order to avoid him, sir.”
“He’s supposed to be one of the best men in London.”
“I am saying nothing against his moral character, sir.”
She looked away. Her attitude seemed to suggest that she had finished with him, and would be obliged if somebody would come and sweep him up.
Love is a delicate plant that needs constant tending and nurturing, and this cannot be done by snorting at the adored object like a gas explosion and calling her friends lice.
Chumps always make the best husbands. When you marry, Sally, grab a chump. Tap his head first, and if it rings solid, don’t hesitate. All the unhappy marriages come from husbands having brains. What good are brains to a man? They only unsettle him.
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