In the Kid Brady tales, which bring together two early themes - boxing and the Englishman making his way in New York – we find Wodehouse learning how to present a hero who is at once touching, impressive and comic.
This volume reprints two of Wodehouse’s earliest books which take the form of story sequences linked by a central character, a technique he used many times thereafter. Delightful in themselves, they are interesting chiefly as windows on a great writer’s early evolution.
In The Man of Means, he looks forward to Bertie Wooster and Ukridge, but also back to his Victorian models, in a fantastic tale of the little man struggling with fate. When a humble clerk comes into a fortune, he embarks on a series of misadventures which suggest that wealth is not necessarily an unmixed blessing. Here we see signs of the satirical writer Wodehouse might have become, and the spirit of Chaplin is not far away.
“Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.”
“He exhausts superlatives”