Monday, October 16, 2006

The day after Plum's birthday (reprise)

Yesterday was P.G. Wodehouse's 125th birthday. Too bad the old egg isn't here to enjoy it.

This is becoming something of a tradition for me. I missed his birthday last year, too, and posted the day after. I'm a huge admirer of "Plum's" writing, so let's celebrate his silliness once again:

I once got engaged to his daughter, Honoria, a ghastly dynamic exhibit who read Nietzsche and had a laugh like waves breaking on a stern and rock-bound coast.
--Very Good, Jeeves (1930), "Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit"

The fishy glitter in his eye became intensified. He looked like a halibut which had been asked by another halibut to lend it a couple of quid till next Wednesday.
--A Few Quick Ones, "The Word in Season"

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 outgeneralled 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.
--Summer Lightning (Fish Preferred), Foreword

His whole attitude recalled irresistibly to the mind that of some assiduous hound who will persist in laying a dead rat on the drawing-room carpet, though repeatedly apprised by word and gesture that the market for same is sluggish or even non-existent.
--The Code of the Woosters (1938)

One of those ghastly literary lunches.... This one was to honour Emma Lucille Agee who wrote that dirty novel that's been seeling in millions in America... About fifteen of the dullest speeches I ever heard. The Agee woman told us for three quarters of an hour how she came to write her beastly book, when a simple apology was all that was required.
--The Girl in Blue (1970)

If you're eager, now, to dig into some Wodehouse stories but don't have any books in your collection, don't panic: here's a collection of short stories you can read online, for free.

Feel free to share some of your favorite Wodehouse lines in the Comments.

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Carrie said...

Thanks for this post. I've never read anything by Wodehouse, but I've thoroughly enjoyed reading what I have so far, not only your quotes but a little of The Man Upstairs at the site you linked to. I love writers who make me smile and-even better- laugh out loud!

Anne said...

Hi from a fellow Plum fan/fanatic. I also missed his birthday. One of my prize possessions in life is the letter he wrote to me in answer to my fan letter. Here is the post I put on our library blog with some links to funny interviews with Stephen Frye and Hugh Laurie.

Meg said...

I love, love, love Wodehouse. Happy birthday to him, a little late.

Brenda Coulter said...

What ho, ladies. Anne's right--Wodehouse should be read aloud. Unfortunately, my hunk o' burnin' love and my kids have never wanted to listen.