Home Arts & Lit The World of Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse

The World of Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse

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Bethany Pratt extols the virtues of snuggling up this winter with a copy of the perennially popular P.G. Wodehouse…

jeeves2February. A chilly, miserable month full of short days, impermeable cloud clover and rain (if not snow), which lies somewhat spitefully as far as possible from Christmas. I’ve never much liked it.

It’s easy to fall into a spirit of gloom at this time, especially if you’re slowly drowning in a never ending mire of work, or if you have returned to university after Christmas to discover you can no longer remember how to cook anything, not even pasta – but never fear. For here is my recipe to bring just a little droplet of pure joy into your life.

Right. Here’s what you have to do. Read a series of short stories, created almost a hundred years ago, that still rank as some of the best short stories ever written. I am talking of course – what ho! such fun! – of Jeeves and Wooster. These stories are P.G. Wodehouse’s gloriously light hearted tales of bumbling aristocrat Wooster and his butler Jeeves, and a vast ensemble of lunatics (including such gems as “Barmy Fungy Phipps” and “Stilton Cheesewright”) who fall in love, get arrested and generally spend a lot of time cavorting around the countryside being public menaces and escaping from various aunts.

It’s quite dated, of course. The country house settings, the landed gentry, the plots all are markedly from a long gone era. However, one thing that can never ever exceed its use-by date is Wodehouse’s command of the English language, crafting words into phrases that descend like fluffy kittens into your life, brightening it just by existing. His fabulous prose and mastery of words are the tools that turn simple, often ridiculous, short stories into something timeless, classic, that continue to be as popular today as they were century ago. If you don’t believe me, head to Amazon, where reviewers describe the world of Jeeves and Wooster variously as “a bracing tonic for daily existence,” or if things are really dire, “a healthy alternative to happy pills”. What more can I say? That sums it up perfectly.

In short, if you’re looking for something quick, uncomplicated and entirely joyful this January, be a good egg and revel in any one of these short stories. Or all of them. Pip pip.

Bethany Pratt

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