The collected letters of England's best-loved comic writer
'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.'
“Wodehouse said letters make "a wonderful oblique form for an autobiography," and Sophie Ratcliffe's expertly edited collection amply proves the point.”
“Anybody requiring evidence of how much work PG Wodehouse put into his comic prose should read his letters. In her introduction to this definitive compendium of Wodehouse's correspondence, Sophie Ratcliffe warns that [the letters] display only on occasions the extraordinary stylistic elan that one finds in fiction. Indeed they do, although when the extraordinary elan bubbles briefly to the surface, it is worth waiting for. But Wodehouse was a dedicated craftsman. He wanted his published words to make people laugh, and he devoted hour after hour to making them fit that purpose. One suspects his personal epistles were often a happy relief from that discipline.”
Scotland on Sunday
“The great catastrophe of his life was of course, his broadcasting from Berlin in 1941, a slur on his reputation that never quite went goes away however often it is expunged. The whole saga is unravelled again here in Sophie Ratcliffe's excellent linking narrative.”
“Filtered by some excellent editing, [these letters] are full of interest”
Mail on Sunday
“Sophie Ratcliffe has done an exemplary job in editing these letters”
“Ratcliffe sees him through to the end with affection. Hers is a model edition, tracing the rise and fall of a writer who allowed his imagined world to eclipse the real”
“This authoritative edition of generous selections - from "Plum's" prolific pen, from schooldays at Dulwich College in 1899 throughout his long Anglo-American career as a novelist and musical comedy lyricist to his last letters from Long Island in 1975 - is acutely attuned to his contradictions of character and his desire to please at the expense of absolute veracity. 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.”
“In this new collection . . . Sophie Ratcliffe has rolled up her sleeves and waded into the fray . . . she has succeeded marvellously. When it comes to the world of Wodehouse, Ratcliffe knows her stuff. She has embroidered this plump selection of letters with an illuminating but unobtrusive critical apparatus.”
“A lovely new book”
Craig Brown, Daily Mail
“An intriguing picture of a great 20th-century writer . . . In its peculiar English way, it has a strange intimacy, the perverse fruit of Wodehouse's instinctive, Jeevesian, discretion.”
Robert McCrum, Guardian
“They give real insight into the man behind Jeeves and Wooster”
Alan Titchmarsh, Sunday Express (Book of the Year)