Advertisement

P. G. Wodehouse

From Academic Kids

Missing image
PGWodehouse.jpg
Called "English literature's performing flea", P. G. Wodehouse, pictured in 1904, became famous for his complex plots, ingenious wordplay, and prolific output.

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (October 15, 1881February 14, 1975) was a prolific English comic writer whose career spanned nearly seventy years. Described by Sean O'Casey as "English literature's performing flea", Wodehouse was an acknowledged master of the English tongue and a stylist par excellence, with admirers ranging from contemporaries like Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh, and Rudyard Kipling to modern writers such as Salman Rushdie and Douglas Adams.

Best known today for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a talented lyricist who worked with Cole Porter on the musical Anything Goes and frequently collaborated with Jerome Kern. He wrote the lyrics for the song "Bill" in Show Boat, which was a huge hit.

Contents

Life

Born in Guildford, Wodehouse (pronounced "Woodhouse") was nicknamed 'Plum'. He was educated at Dulwich College, but his anticipated progression to university was stymied by family financial problems. Subsequently he worked for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank for two years, though he was never really interested in banking as a career. Having taken up writing as his profession, he eventually went to Hollywood, where he earned enormous amounts as a screenwriter. Many of his novels were also serialized in magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, which also paid large amounts of money. He married in 1914, gaining a stepdaughter.

Although Wodehouse and his novels are considered quintessentially English, from 1924 through 1940 he lived entirely in the United States and France and apparently applied for American citizenship at one point. He was also profoundly uninterested in politics and world affairs. When World War II broke out in 1939 he remained at his seaside home in Le Touquet, France, instead of returning to England, apparently failing to recognize the seriousness of the conflict. He was subsequently taken prisoner by the Germans in 1940 and interned by them for a year, first in Belgium, then at Tost in Upper Silesia (now in Poland). While at Tost, he entertained his fellow prisoners with witty dialogues, which, after being released from internment a few months short of his 60th birthday, he used as the basis for a series of radio broadcasts he was persuaded by the Germans to make from Berlin. Wartime England was in no mood for light-hearted banter, however, and the broadcasts led to many accusations of collaboration and even treason. Some libraries banned his books. Foremost among his critics was A. A. Milne, author of the "Winnie the Pooh" books; Wodehouse got some revenge by creating a ridiculous character named "Timothy Bobbin," who starred in hilarious parodies of some of Milne's children's poetry. Among Wodehouse's defenders were Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell (see links below).

The criticism led Wodehouse to move permanently to America. He became an American citizen in 1955, and never returned to his homeland. He was made a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) in 1975, shortly before his death. It is widely believed that the honor was not given earlier because of lingering resentment about the German broadcasts.

Many consider Wodehouse as second only to Charles Dickens in fecundity of character invention. His characters however were not always popular with the establishment, notably the foppish foolishness of Bertie Wooster. Papers released by the Public Record Office have disclosed that when Wodehouse was recommended for a Companion of Honour in 1967, Sir Patrick Dean, British ambassador in Washington, argued that it "would also give currency to a Bertie Wooster image of the British character which we are doing our best to eradicate."

Writings

For a complete list, see List of books by P. G. Wodehouse.

Wodehouse was a prolific author, writing ninety-six books in a career spanning from 1902 to 1977. His works include novels, collections of short stories, and a musical comedy. Many characters and locations appear repeatedly throughout his short stories and novels, leading readers to classify his work by "series".

Both the Blandings and Jeeves stories have been adapted as BBC television series: the Jeeves series has been adapted twice, once in the 1960s (for the BBC) with Ian Carmichael as Bertie Wooster, and Dennis Price as Jeeves, and again in the 1990s (by Granada Television for ITV), with the title Jeeves and Wooster, starring Hugh Laurie as Bertie and Stephen Fry as Jeeves. David Niven and Arthur Treacher also starred as Bertie and Jeeves, respectively, in a few films made in the 1930s.

Characters

Missing image
Jeeves-n-wooster.jpg

For a more extensive list of characters, see List of P. G. Wodehouse characters.

Major characters

Minor Characters

References

  1. Template:Book reference 2
  2. Template:Book reference 2

External links

Template:Wikiquote

de:P. G. Wodehouse fr:Pelham Grenville Wodehouse nl:P.G. Wodehouse sv:P.G. Wodehouse

Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools