Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Austen and Sayers and Wodehouse

Oh, my.

I've been reading a lot of P.G. Wodehouse lately. I've also been dipping into books about him, and in so doing, I noticed that he appeared to have borrowed a few names from Miss Austen. Bingley and D'Arcy (Darcy), no less.

His style influenced so many people and writers, too. That is, the knuts and others whom Wodehouse kept alive in his time live on now because of his brilliant way of turning a stereotype into a character that fascinates.

Dorothy L. Sayers was a scholar, in every way. But she loved humor, and it shows in the Lord Peter Wimsey books. (Wimsey, for heaven's sake, as a surname.) For the most part she keeps it subtle, barring the opening of the first book, but she can't resist letting a character describe Lord Peter in Murder Must Advertise as "Bertie Wooster in horn-rims". He's in disguise, thus the glasses.

One of the slackers hanging out in the secretaries' offices is reading Wodehouse, too. Even immediately after Peter is at his most serious some of Bertie's mannerisms will creep in; I love that.

I think it's time to re-read the Wimsey canon chronologically again.

In even more frivolous news, I present you with a sample of my contribution to the ornament exchange:


Ali said...

I've heard of Wodehouse but never read him. Thanks for the heads up! I'm always on the look out for something new. Especially when its old! Love the reindeer too!

Eileen said...

Wodehouse is the perfect escape. He's the asylum that will keep you sane.

Check out DVDs of Jeeves & Wooster as played by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. You'll be enchanted!

Ali said...

Ah now see, I've seen episodes of Jeeves & Wooster and I don't really like them. But I bet the books are great.

Anonymous said...

I never liked reading much Jeeves & Wooster, but non-series character novels I liked quite a bit.


Eileen said...

Ali, I'll bet you'd like the Ukridge stories, though maybe not Psmith.

That's a good point, Suky. (I'm like that with Agatha Christie. Give me non-series, if you would.)