P.G. WODEHOUSE: A Portrait of a Master by David A. Jasen
Kirkus Star

P.G. WODEHOUSE: A Portrait of a Master

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A most judicious and tasteful tribute to the genius of P.G. (""Plum"") Wodehouse, among the most gifted and diligent craftsmen ever in the field of popular humor. With a chivalrous delicacy paralleling his subject's own gentle ""a-worldly neutrality,"" Jasen never pokes around for chinks in Plum's walled private garden. Instead he settles on the truly essential Wodehouse -- with generous use of letters to and from Plum and friends, scattered interviews and a beautifully balanced chronology of that infinite magnitude of novels, articles, stories, theater books and song lyrics. ""From my earliest years,"" said Wodehouse, ""I always wanted to be a writer. . . I knew I was good."" Beginning with pleasant public-school years in England, through early proliferation in the magazines' heyday, trans-Atlantic commutations, theater work, Mulliner-Jeeves-Psmith, etc., etc., Wodehouse pursued and continues to pursue at ninety that stylistic excellence which has earned him his unique audience of both uncritical devotees and serious critics who recognize Wodehouse's technical brilliance: story construction of contrapuntal, multi-thematic perfection; a comic language built on spacious idiom and efficient hyperbole; and a fictional world as fragile and entire as an egg. Jasen touches on Plum's cruel humiliations during World War II and follows the Wodehouse menages through' ceaseless moves -- but this is mainly a study of a life within a craft. A treat for writers, and for those who place the porcine splendors of the Empress of Blandings above the shoddy claims of Josephine. Just fine.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1974
Publisher: Mason & Lipscomb