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Monday, August 29, 2005

Revisting Wodehouse

Meet Psmith.

As any regular reader of this lil blog probably knows, I’m a Gutenberg.org addict.  Well, since I’m addicted to the written word and Gutenberg.org (see my sidebar for the link) has thousands of public domain etexts available, that’s a natural outcome.

Another fav of mine is P.G. Wodehouse.  I just now, thanks to reading another of Burt Prelutsky’s articles, thought to check for any P.D. copies of Wodehouse works Gutenberg.org might have available, since Wodehouse’s writing career began in 1902 and there would be a goodly number in P.D. by now.  Early Wodehouse has been difficult to find in the libraries and bookstores I’ve had available since I discovered the joy of reading his prose some years ago.  The later works have been better-represented, so I’ve missed a lot of his earlier novels. Of the 94 “greatest novels of the 20th Century”_1_ (Wodehouse’s oeuvre, naturally), in fact, I’ve read less than half!

Remedying that in part, now, by reading the etext of Mike and Psmith, written in 1909.  A sample from early in the book shows Wodehouse’s gentle wit:

“I am with you, Comrade Jackson.  You won’t mind my calling you Comrade, will you?  I’ve just become a socialist.  It’s a great scheme.  You ought to be one.  You work for the equal distribution of property, and start by collaring all you can and sitting on it…”


Sounds like rich liberalists (who now call themselves “progressives”—stealing the term from earlier communists and socialists… ) who send their kids to private schools and militate against school vouchers for poor folk.

“…start by collaring all you can and sitting on it…” Addendum: apropos of blogging? Psmith comments on having an audience:
"... Soliloquy is a knack. Hamlet had got it, but probably only after years of patient practice. Personally, I need someone to listen when I talk. I like to feel that I am doing good. You stay where you are—don’t interrupt too much.”