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'Wodehouse said letters make "a wonderful oblique form for an autobiography," and Sophie Ratcliffe's expertly edited collection amply proves the point.'
One of the funniest and most admired writers of the twentieth century, P. G. Wodehouse always shied away from the idea of a biography. A quiet, retiring man, he expressed himself through the written word. His letters - collected here - provide an illuminating biographical accompaniment to legendary comic creations such as Jeeves, Wooster, Psmith and the Empress of Blandings.
This is a book every lover of Wodehouse will want to possess.
'The letters, gossipy in the kindliest, amused/bemused manner, bear true witness to the wide-ranging influences on Wodehouse's' best-known novels and best-loved characters.'
This first comprehensive collection of correspondence by the creator of the irrepressible Jeeves and Bertie Wooster reveals Wodehouse (1881 1975) to be an indefatigably cheerful chap whose "voice" might easily be mistaken for that of one of his comic characters. Weaving biographical information around skillfully edited and annotated letters from 1899 to 1975, Ratcliffe creates a portrait of Wodehouse as a tireless worker, devoted family man, and loyal friend. An energetic Wodehouse bounced ideas off fellow writers William Townend and Leslie Havergal Bradshaw, and regaled recipients with anecdotes about his collaborations as a lyricist with Guy Bolton, Jerome Kern, and others. Wodehouse was a footloose transatlantic traveler, often accompanied by his wife, Ethel, and beloved stepdaughter Leonora. Letters from Hollywood and New York, and from rented homes in France and England detail the life of a well-heeled cosmopolite. The upbeat tone of his letters notwithstanding, Wodehouse dealt with considerable drama, including as a prisoner of war accused of collaborating with Nazi propagandists, and in his later years, he bore up against the deaths of friends and family. Ever droll and witty, the letters burst with insights about the craft of writing, appraisals of his surroundings, and negotiating the vicissitudes of life ("One good result of the -raid is that two dinner engagements which we had have been cancelled!"). The book is an excellent introduction to Wodehouse's life.