- Taschenbuch: 384 Seiten
- Verlag: Ww Norton & Co; Auflage: Reprint (6. August 2010)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0393327515
- ISBN-13: 978-0393327519
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 3,6 x 20,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 549.389 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Wodehouse: A Life (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 6. August 2010
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"A magisterial biography: disinterested, but never detached, and always intriguing. Under the kindly and scholarly tutelage of McCrum, you might want to explore here the Wodehouse genius, the inconsistencies and downright silliness in the man's life."
For as long as P.G. Wodehouse is read, this will be the seminal work of reference, the indispensable vade mecum. In other words as the Master might say ripping. --John le Carre"
McCrum . . . has written a biography that, if the subject were a general or a politician, would be dubbed 'magisterial.' This is a magisterial biography: disinterested, but never detached, and always intriguing. Under the kindly and scholarly tutelage of McCrum, you might want to explore here the Wodehouse genius, the inconsistencies and downright silliness in the man's life.--Frank McCourt
[An] absorbing and generous biography, which now takes its rightful place as 'the life.'--Christopher Buckley
This book is a triumph. Not only should all P. G. Wodehouse fans read it, but it is a masterly picture of twentieth-century history.--A. N. Wilson
An affectionate portrait of the prolific twentieth-century comic writer discusses his creation of such characters as Jeeves, Psmith, and the Empress of Blandings; describes his contributions to Broadway and the London stage; details his internment in Berlin during World War II; and reveals a following of literary figures who are among his top fans. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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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.
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Robert McCrum's Wodehouse A Life is a surprisingly serious tome about a mostly withdrawn man who is most famous for a rather large catalog of light humor, one great musical (Anything Goes) and a number of mostly forgotten musical comedies.(Edit Wodehouse's enduring contribution to Broadway was to help move the format to one where story and song are in mutual support , more like modern Broadway)Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, Plum or Plumie to most everyone was a man who managed to be deliberately uninteresting in himself but a part of, or author of a long list of entertainment and especially lasting literary humor across 3/4 of the 20th century.
The biography makes very clear that of the most important foundational characteristics of this man are that he was withdrawn, likely to downplay any events of his real-life and best able to be himself and at his best when driving himself to publish his next book or story. Public school which in America is called private school became his model for his adult social life. That is, dealing with the world was best done in accordance with Edwardian school social norms and by ensuring your independence via hard work.
Somehow these very ordinary guidelines turned into a three page listing of titles memorable for their whimsy, controlled chaos and not quite over the top loud laugh inducing silliness. PG Wodehouse would become memorable for the characters: Psmith, Bertie Wooster his inimitable gentleman's gentleman Jeeves, Lord Elmsworth and his award-winning. Empress Blandings. PG would have numerous songs performed on Broadway be a key creator in the musical Anything Goes and a so-so career in the earliest days of Hollywood.
All of this would be something of a strange prelude to a strange disquieting World War II that he would spend as a not entirely comfortable guest of the Nazi government. McCrum tries valiantly to do an objective analysis of the degree to which Wodehouse was author to his own discomfiture. The facts are that these events form an separate story that will color the events of the rest of his life. More detail might be understood or misunderstood as a spoiler but I would suggest that this middle passage is likely to be the portion that will give the reader the most to think about.
Robert McCrum writes a very thorough, relatively easy to read book. It is not so academic as to make it feel stodgy even though most of the time the central figure, himself is somewhat stodgy. There are a few plot reviews here perhaps a few too many but I rather like getting another analytical view on books I enjoy. It is through McCrum that I came to realize the most important secret about howthat these stories remain entertaining a hundred years after the collapse of the Edwardian manor house, butler economy. Wodehouse knew he was writing something more akin to a fairytale than simply funny stories.
A shortcoming in the this book is a refusal to dig too deeply into either PG's sex life or with that of his wife. If the subject were not raised at all; one could credit the author with delicacy. The repeated suggestions that Ethel was more than just a social butterfly and perhaps was too close a number of men possibly including German officers give the book a of flavor of teasing tattletale.
I enjoyed Wodehouse A Life. I can recommend. It is good biography it is not great biography. If you are not a fan of Wodehouse most likely you will miss the concept of a 400 page book about an otherwise minor (?) humorist. From this book I have concluded that there is a lot more to the PG Wodehouse catalog and that I have a lot more reading and laughing to do.