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The definitive edition of the letters—many previously unpublished—of England’s greatest comic writer.
P. G. Wodehouse wrote some of the greatest comic masterpieces of all time. So, naturally, we find the same humor and wit in his letters. He offers hilarious accounts of living in England and France, the effects of prohibition, and how to deal with publishers. He even recounts cricket matches played while in a Nazi internment camp (Wodehouse wanted to show the stiff upper lip of the British in the toughest situations). Over the years, Wodehouse corresponded with relatives, friends, and some of the greatest figures of the twentieth century: Agatha Christie, Ira Gershwin, Evelyn Waugh, George Orwell, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The letters are arranged chronologically with intersecting sections of biography written by Sophie Ratcliffe. This is the only book you will need to understand the man behind the 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.