I first read P.G. Wodehouse when I was in school. Both my knowledge of the language and the society in which the characters created by Wodehouse lived were rudimentary. I only read them to please my English teacher and never understood a word of what he wrote. I read him again when I was in college and the results were a bit better. I must have read and re read them many times since then and now his books are my refuge. Whenever my moods turn sour which is often, I take recourse to his books and return refreshed.
Many have told me he is a farce. Of course he is. But he makes me happy. He created a new world of farce based on characters drawn from pre Second World War British society and the characters have stood the test of time and have never become stale. The stories written 75 years ago can still make you laugh. One doesn’t have to necessarily go back to that era to enjoy his works. There is no need to imagine the scenario as it is vividly described when the characterization is done.
Wodehouse was an avid golfer. Another reason for my liking him. He once famously said,’ I wasted the first fifty years of my life because I began playing golf only after’. All golfers will whole heartedly agree with this sentiment. Our lives will be barren and purposeless [exaggeration?] if this game is taken away from our lives. He created a character, an elderly retired gentleman who no longer could play golf but who nevertheless waylaid the unwary in the clubhouse and told them stories recalled from his memory. The stories told by this oldest member [Sage] is available as golf omnibus and these too can be repeatedly read without loss of flavor.
The outstanding characters are of course that of Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves. The related uncles and aunts, friends and acquaintances, churches and clergymen, country houses and city clubs fill his books. Some characters are outstanding such as the pig lover Lord Elmsworth and the genteel poor PSmith.
At present I am reading another of Wooster stories and how he is being helped to get out of or prevented from entering holy matrimony yet again. It is fun reading.
Those of you, I am sure, who get occasionally depressed, given the dismal environment [at least true in India] will surely benefit if you take up reading him.