P.G. Wodehouse, David A. Jasen

Although I’ve fallen off a bit on my drive to read all the Wodehouse ouvre in order, I can feel my juices beginning to bubble up about it again after reading this delightful biography of the master. I don’t know what to think of Jasen as a biographer–I tend to believe that he’s a poor one from the showing on this book, as he tends to simply list events in Plum’s life, interspersed with excerpreted letters by and to Plum. And Jasen makes no bones that his book is an unbiased study of Wodehouse, from the subtitle to the treatment. On the other hand, I don’t know how you could treat Wodehouse in any other way, for he truly had lost any malicious bone in his body at approximately the age of 25, as if mean-spiritedness was a baby-tooth that one lost and promptly forgot about.

I bought this book years ago for its secondary bibliography, listing all the stories and books. With something roughly like 90 books to his credit, sometimes with similar titles between novels, different titles for American or British publication, and all eminently re-readable, it’s quite a chore to keep them straight in one’s mind. With an accurate list at hand, the only problem is finding the damn things.

I believe Frances Donaldson has written a more traditional biography (did I read it back when I first discovered Wodehouse in the stacks at the University of Texas?), which I should acquire and judge against Jasen.

[Finished 7 May 1994]

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