P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters

P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters

by P. G. Wodehouse
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The definitive edition of the letters—many previously unpublished—of England’s greatest comic writer.

P. G. Wodehouse wrote some of the greatest comic masterpieces of all time. So, naturally, we find the same humor and wit in his letters. He offers hilarious accounts of living in England and France, the effects of prohibition, and how to deal

See more details below

Overview

The definitive edition of the letters—many previously unpublished—of England’s greatest comic writer.

P. G. Wodehouse wrote some of the greatest comic masterpieces of all time. So, naturally, we find the same humor and wit in his letters. He offers hilarious accounts of living in England and France, the effects of prohibition, and how to deal with publishers. He even recounts cricket matches played while in a Nazi internment camp (Wodehouse wanted to show the stiff upper lip of the British in the toughest situations). Over the years, Wodehouse corresponded with relatives, friends, and some of the greatest figures of the twentieth century: Agatha Christie, Ira Gershwin, Evelyn Waugh, George Orwell, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The letters are arranged chronologically with intersecting sections of biography written by Sophie Ratcliffe. This is the only book you will need to understand the man behind the characters.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Jonathan Yardley
…Wodehouse, a humble and courteous man, answered all his mail and therefore amassed a huge library of missives, of which this generous selection is more a sample than a definitive edition. But what a delicious sample it is! Ratcliffe…is right to warn us that Wodehouse's letters often are casual…But the man comes shining through in them, revealing everything from his incredibly professional writing habits to his deep love of animals (dogs most particularly) to his opinions about other writers…Wodehouse: A Life in Letters gives us the story in his own words—and far more comprehensively than any previous volume of letters—because Ratcliffe has tracked down many that went unpublished.
Publishers Weekly
This first comprehensive collection of correspondence by the creator of the irrepressible Jeeves and Bertie Wooster reveals Wodehouse (1881–1975) to be an indefatigably cheerful chap whose “voice” might easily be mistaken for that of one of his comic characters. Weaving biographical information around skillfully edited and annotated letters from 1899 to 1975, Ratcliffe creates a portrait of Wodehouse as a tireless worker, devoted family man, and loyal friend. An energetic Wodehouse bounced ideas off fellow writers William Townend and Leslie Havergal Bradshaw, and regaled recipients with anecdotes about his collaborations as a lyricist with Guy Bolton, Jerome Kern, and others. Wodehouse was a footloose transatlantic traveler, often accompanied by his wife, Ethel, and beloved stepdaughter Leonora. Letters from Hollywood and New York, and from rented homes in France and England detail the life of a well-heeled cosmopolite. The upbeat tone of his letters notwithstanding, Wodehouse dealt with considerable drama, including as a prisoner of war accused of collaborating with Nazi propagandists, and in his later years, he bore up against the deaths of friends and family. Ever droll and witty, the letters burst with insights about the craft of writing, appraisals of his surroundings, and negotiating the vicissitudes of life (“One good result of the -raid is that two dinner engagements which we had have been cancelled!”). The book is an excellent introduction to Wodehouse’s life. (Jan.)
Sean Wilsey
“This is the best book I’ve ever read about Italy. Never have I encountered a more insightful and hilarious insider/outsider portrait of the country at the center of Western civilization. Tim Parks should be given a villa in Rome and the title of English ambassador.”
Donna Tartt - New York Times Book Review
“These letters…throw off sparks of [Wodehouse’s] sui generis brilliance at almost every line, while at the same time providing a rare glimpse of the gentle, self-deprecating soul behind the books. One of my favorite letter collections in years.”
Jonathan Yardley - The Washington Post
“[Wodehouse] was a wonderfully amiable correspondent, chatty and gossipy and direct.”
Kirkus Reviews
The life and times of the creator of Bertie and Jeeves, as told to friends and family. Although they don't reveal him at his stylish, polished best, these letters by P.G. Wodehouse (1881–1975) are casual, funny and revealing asides from a prolific and successful career. Although he began his working life in a dull banking firm, it wasn't long before writing would make him rich. By the 1920s, he was getting top dollar. "I have just signed a contract with the Cosmopolitan for eighteen stories at $6500 each (including English rights)," he wrote Ira Gershwin in 1928. "Also a serial for Collier's for $40,000." As one of the most popular writers (and Broadway lyricists) of his day, he kept up an indefatigable pace. (A typical progress report from 1932: "I'm writing like blazes. A novel and eight short stories in seven and a half months.") Wodehouse was constantly on the lookout for stories, and he didn't mind using retreads ("I have only got one plot and produce it once a year with variations"). Evelyn Waugh noted that Wodehouse characters live in a perpetual Eden; their creator was a similar case of arrested development. At the age of 51, he wrote, "I sometimes feel as if I were a case of infantilism." Taken prisoner by the Nazis while living in France, he made broadcasts over German radio in hopes of letting his readers know he was OK; it took years of postwar damage control to convince them he had been a "Silly Ass," not a Nazi stooge. To wife Ethel ("precious angel Bunny") and stepdaughter Leonora ("Snorky"), he was affectionate; to fellow writers and readers--he always answered fan mail--he was instructive, gossipy and supportive, sometimes financially. Editor Ratcliffe's (On Sympathy, 2009) generous annotations and judicious edits give scope to a rich, brilliant, happy, oblivious life.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393089875
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
01/28/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
640
Sales rank:
687,898
File size:
7 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >