|Are we having fun yet?|
“An undoubtedly gentle soul ... his habit of inventing Edenic universes was not limited to the printed page. Evelyn Waugh once wrote of Bertie Wooster and his valet, Jeeves, that they inhabited 'a world as timeless as that of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Alice in Wonderland.' Wodehouse, too, was timeless, but distinctly so: he could appear untouched by his era, untouched by his times.”
In characterizing Wodehouse's prose, Chotiner aptly quotes the author's own introduction to his novel Summer Lightning:
A certain critic—for such men, I regret to say, do exist—made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained “all the old Wodehouse characters under different names.” He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have outgeneralled the man this time by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy.
|"If Jeeves sets out to shift a fellow from spot A to spot B, from a state-room on a yacht, for instance, to the shore in front of his cottage, he just does it." Illustration by Paul Cox from Thank You, Jeeves (London: The Folio Society, 1996).|