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Wodehouse: A Life [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Robert McCrum
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Kurzbeschreibung

6. August 2010
To Evelyn Waugh he was simply "the Master". He wrote ninety novels and story collections and among his immortal characters are Jeeves, Psmith and the Empress of Blandings. Equally impressive is the range of his devotees. Robert McCrum's magisterial biography chronicles the achievements and shadows of a gilded life. This is the book for all Wodehouse fans; it eclipses all previous accounts of his life.

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 384 Seiten
  • Verlag: W W Norton & Co; Auflage: Reprint (6. August 2010)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0393327515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393327519
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 20,8 x 14,2 x 3,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 646.987 in Englische Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Englische Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"Wonderful-one of those biographies that lives up to all one's hopes and expectations..." John Le Carre "Lucid, fair-minded and proper... No lover of Wodehouse will want to be without this masterly appraisal." Stephen Fry "A magisterial biography: disinterested, but never detatched, and always intriguing." Frank McCourt, The Boston Globe

Synopsis

One hundred years after his first novel was published P.G. Wodehouse still promises a release from everyday cares into a paradise of innocent comic mayhem. His many books are still in print, his characters Jeeves, Wooster and Lord Emsworth have passed into the language and his admirers range from Dorothy Parker, Evelyn Waugh to Salman Rushdie, Stephen Fry and Gerry Adams.In a new biography based on research throughout Britain, Europe and the USA Robert McCrum delves deep beneath the brilliant surface of P.G. Wodehouse's extraordinary life: his youth in Edwardian Britain, his golden years in Jazz Age America and his internment in Nazi Germany, the experience that haunted him to his death in 1975, to create a moving and extremely funny portrait of an English writer of genius. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

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Einleitungssatz
Wodehouse is a funny Old English name that has become synonymous with the kind of humour that involves silly young men, dotty peers, and a regiment of all-powerful aunts and butlers. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Plum 15. Oktober 2010
Format:Taschenbuch
Nach seinem Schlaganfall war dies das erste Buch, das der bekannte Literaturkritiker Robert McCrum geschrieben hat. Und vielleicht ist P.G. Wodehouse auch genau das Richtige, um sich im neu gewonnenen Leben zurechtzufinden. Vielleicht wäre eine Biographie über Wodehouse nicht unbedingt nötig gewesen, es gibt ja mit "Bring on the Girls", "Performing Flea" und "Over Seventy" drei kleine Autobiographien, die in den fünfziger Jahren entstanden sind. Und seit 1990 gibt es auch eine gute Auswahl seiner Briefe (ed. Frances Donaldson), so dass man von dem Menschen Wodehouse schon ein gutes Bild erhält. Natürlich ist McCrums Biographie längst nicht so witzig wie Wodehouses Autobiographien, das liegt in der Natur der Sache. Aber es ist eine seriöse Biographie, für die im Jahre 2004 viele Leser und viele Kritiker dankbar waren. John le Carré schrieb damals "Wonderful - one of those biographies that lives up to all one's hopes and expectations, and then goes a step further." Was soll man da noch sagen?
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Wodehouse's Sources, Inspirations, Habits and Shame 27. Dezember 2004
Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT
Format:Taschenbuch
Should a dedicated fan of P.G. Wodehouse's writing read this book? Yes, I think so. Mr. McCrum's book is filled with information that will make reading Mr. Wodehouse's many comic offerings more rewarding. For instance, where did so many of those wonderful names come from? Many were drawn from people and places that Wodehouse knew as a youth. Why did he have such a jaundiced view of aunts and say so little about mothers? His own family history contained strained relationships with dictatorial aunts and a distant mother who ignored him. Where did the inspiration for Blandings Castle come from? It turns out to be based on actual experiences in an English country home. Simply from those perspectives, I felt that my understanding of Wodehouse plots, humor and references were vastly increased.

In addition, I knew that P.G. Wodehouse was very prolific, but I never quite understood how he did it. I was fascinated to see how disciplined he was to keep doing his daily quota of words. As someone who likes to write as well, this was a positive inspiration to keep to that discipline myself. I was also pleased to find out more about how he developed his plots and characters and did his rewriting. If you combine this book with Sunset at Blandings, you can get a quite helpful perspective on the details of his craft.

Next, I am always running into veiled and ambiguous references to P.G. Wodehouse having done some broadcasts for German radio during World War II while living in Germany. It was never clear to me what that was all about. Now, this book gives me enough information to have views on the subject. I hadn't realized that Wodehouse had been interned by German forces in prison environments for over a year before the broadcasts.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen  25 Rezensionen
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A fascinating book about a dull man who wrote clever books. 22. November 2004
Von Matthew Asnip - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The consensus about P. G. Wodehouse held by everyone who knew him was that he was very pleasant, sweet and good-natured, but also rather boring. He was never witty. His conversation centered around writing and sport.

Mr. McCrum has pulled off a tour-de-force and written a biography that is captivating. He has obviously done his research and he doesn't gloss over the unseemly events of World War II. But he also shows the generous side of a man who was notorious for watching his pennies.

This is truly an excellent biography that reveals much about late Victorian and Edwardian England. Wodehouse was the great comic writer of his day, and this book shows what it took for him to achieve his apparently effortless prose.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in writing.
27 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Wodehouse's Sources, Inspirations, Habits and Shame 27. Dezember 2004
Von Donald Mitchell - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Should a dedicated fan of P.G. Wodehouse's writing read this book? Yes, I think so. Mr. McCrum's book is filled with information that will make reading Mr. Wodehouse's many comic offerings more rewarding. For instance, where did so many of those wonderful names come from? Many were drawn from people and places that Wodehouse knew as a youth. Why did he have such a jaundiced view of aunts and say so little about mothers? His own family history contained strained relationships with dictatorial aunts and a distant mother who ignored him. Where did the inspiration for Blandings Castle come from? It turns out to be based on actual experiences in an English country home. Simply from those perspectives, I felt that my understanding of Wodehouse plots, humor and references were vastly increased.

In addition, I knew that P.G. Wodehouse was very prolific, but I never quite understood how he did it. I was fascinated to see how disciplined he was to keep doing his daily quota of words. As someone who likes to write as well, this was a positive inspiration to keep to that discipline myself. I was also pleased to find out more about how he developed his plots and characters and did his rewriting. If you combine this book with Sunset at Blandings, you can get a quite helpful perspective on the details of his craft.

Next, I am always running into veiled and ambiguous references to P.G. Wodehouse having done some broadcasts for German radio during World War II while living in Germany. It was never clear to me what that was all about. Now, this book gives me enough information to have views on the subject. I hadn't realized that Wodehouse had been interned by German forces in prison environments for over a year before the broadcasts. In addition, he was released from internment before agreeing to do the broadcasts which turn out to have been very ill-considered but not a clear-cut case of selling out to the enemy.

Naturally, the ultimate question is also about how interesting Wodehouse must have been in person. That's a disappointment. He was a real bore in public who preferred solitude. On the other hand, I was fascinated to see how much of his personality can be found in the various characters in the stories.

I was aware of his famous quote about writing about life as though it is musical comedy, but I didn't realize that he actually helped write lyrics for musical comedies among his many successes.

Finally, there's a marvelous question of what-might-have-been. Wodehouse was about to go to university with bright prospects when he family pulled the financial plug to favor his older brother. P.G. spent two years working in a bank while writing furiously at every spare moment to establish himself in England, rather than being sent abroad as another bank trainee. You'll find yourself cheering for him!

Mr. Wodehouse lived so long that there's also the fascinating part of the tale about how his writing went from being cutting edge comedy to being historical fiction about the Edwardian era.

The less you have read of Mr. Wodehouse's work, the more you will probably enjoy this volume.

I found that the book's main weakness was that it gave me a great many more details about his personal life than I really wanted to know (such as all of his dogs and his relationships with them) and a little less on his writing than I would have liked to know.

But it's a solid effort, nevertheless, and one that will provide much pleasure to Wodehouse fans.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Poorly written, no new insights 31. Dezember 2011
Von FSheridan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
I have read a number biographies of P.G. Wodehouse (those by David Jasen, Frances Donaldson, and Joseph Connolly, among others) and am a big fan of his work. This book adds NOTHING of value to existing biographies and has a smarmy tone that was, to me at least, quite off-putting. (I have also seen McCrum in person speaking about Wodehouse, and he's even worse in the flesh.)

If you are interested in knowing more about Wodehouse's life, read the excellent "P.G. Wodehouse, A Life in Letters" edited by Oxford don Sophie Ratcliffe and/or the David Jasen biography, "P.G. Wodehouse: A Portrait of a Master."

My advice is to give this one the miss-in-baulk, or, if you really feel you must read it (because it has gained the, in my opinion unearned, reputation of being the "definitive" biography) take it out of the library - don't waste your money on it.

I would have given it 0 stars if Amazon would allow it.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen You Can Keep All Your Smart Modern Writers, Give Me P.G. Wodehouse 8. Juni 2006
Von diskojoe - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Whenever I see the commercials for House, M.D., starring Hugh Laurie, I always get the same feeling as when I see Johnny Damon clean-shaven and in pin-stripes, or how an old folkie who Believed saw Dylan enter his electric period. Because every time I see Hugh Laurie, I see Bertie Wooster. Whenever I see commercials for House, I always think, what in the heck is Bertie Wooster doing acting so morose? He's a Yank doctor? He's always yelling & screaming, getting into fistfights about trying to save people's lives (Bertie Wooster saving people's lives?). If Jeeves showed up & tried to remonstrate as to his behavior, he would probably pop him one in the face.

Anyway, ixnay on the rant and on to the latest biography of the man who created Bertie Wooster, as well as Jeeves and other brilliant characters, nay, one big, brillant comic world. P.G. Wodehouse was a literary genius in creating and more importantely, sustaining this world for nearly seventy years and one hundred books. With his popularity and constant traveling between England, Europe & America between the teens and thirties, he was the prototype of the late 20th Century Anglo-American rock star. Robert McCrum does an admirable and readable job in portraying Wodehouse's life and career through its many phases and how the circumstances of his upbringing informed and influcened his literary output. Although I have read several prior Wodehouse biographies, I did get the sense that I learned a bit more about portions of his career, especially his work on Broadway w/Guy Bolton & Jerome Kern and his Hollywood sojourn (ironically, Hugh Laurie is more successful there than Wodehouse was). Mr. McCrum also did a good job in the unfortunate area of the war years, showing how Wodehouse's personality and detachment from the areas of reality that he wasn't interested in led him to make the Berlin broadcasts. Again, Mr. McCrum does a good job in showing how other personalities, especially his wife Ethel and stepdaughter Leonora, influenced and assisted him. Another fact that this biography reminded me about is how the magazine industry in the first half of the 20th Century influenced Wodehouse. It is a fact that Wodehouse was determined to write in order to make money. He did not set out to be the sensistive Artiste, not at all. His big dream was to be publised in the Saturday Evening Post. What amazes me was despite all this, he was not a hack writer and was so gifted in the areas of language and plotting that his work, like the Motown singles of the 1960's, has transcended its origins in Commerce. This is a good biography for Wodehouse fans and afterwards you can go straight into a Jeeves/Wooster or Blandings Castle saga, just like I did.

P.S.: I felt that one of the funniest (in the Monty Python sense) stories in the whole book, which involved Bill Townend, one of Wodehouse's old school friends was buried in the notes of Chapter 7 at the end of the book.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen An excellent, if commissioned, biography 16. Januar 2005
Von Brian Taves - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Robert McCrum's book, first of all, is a commissioned biography. It represents the best efforts, and inevitably failings, of such endeavors. McCrum is a literate, thorough researcher, and has produced a respectable volume ready to stand aside the best other Wodehouse biographies. Most importantly, McCrum has intelligently meshed both the retelling of a life and literary analysis, including analysis of many of the Wodehouse books, demonstrating his familiarity with the canon. However, there are significant and unavoidable drawbacks to an effort such as McCrum's, which represents an assignment, rather than the labor of a true Wodehouse scholar. McCrum only stands alongside, not supplanting, the many existing Wodehouse biographies, going all the way back to David Jasen's pioneering first effort. Such specialized books as Lee Davis's Bolton and Wodehouse and Kern, Iain Sprott's Wodehouse at War, Kristin Thompson's analysis of the Bertie Wooster/Jeeves saga (and, humbly, my own forthcoming book on Wodehouse and Hollywood), all remain necessary specialized adjuncts to all the more general biographies. For American readers, McCrum rather overplays the significance of the Berlin broadcasts to Wodehouse's legacy, and only narrowly avoids a tendency to lapse into an Anglocentric perspective in the book that is evident in his promotional interviews. McCrum does make a number of surprising factual errors, surely a result of coming to the subject "cold," rather than as an expert, but more annoying is his determination to interpret levels of meaning into Wodehouse's personal life rather than simply accepting him as the product of a generation who kept private matters private. Nonetheless, despite these shortcomings, the McCrum book is solid, scholarly, and well repays its price and the time necessary to read the 400 + pages, for he does enlighten both the life, and the writing, of P.G. Wodehouse.
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