Category: Random

Wodehouse the Genius

This is either a remarkably critical celebration or a remarkably appreciative critique of P.G. Wodehouse.

P.G. Wodehouse and the Idea of Genius (at Front Porch Republic)

“Readers who love Wodehouse know perfectly well that he’s no moral compass, towering intellect, or incisive commentator on his times. His genius resides in one simple fact: he had a wondrous way with a sentence. He subdued English grammar like a lion tamer, working himself into seemingly fatal complications before extricating himself with a flourish. He could turn a proverb inside out, cap an epic simile with a preposterous slangy coda, extend a metaphor to the breaking point and fold it neatly for another day—all while displaying a matchless ear for prose rhythm. Brief quotations don’t capture the full effect of Wodehouse’s style. One of his greatest set pieces, for example, involves a jealous young man trashing a London nightclub and runs on for several pages. A few shorter samples will at least hint at the Wodehouse experience.

Here is Bertie reminiscing in The Code of the Woosters:

The whole situation recalled irresistibly to my mind something that had happened to me once up at Oxford, when the heart was young. It was during Eights Week, and I was sauntering on the river-bank with a girl named something that has slipped my mind, when there was a sound of barking and a large, hefty dog came galloping up, full of beans and buck and obviously intent on mayhem. And I was just commending my soul to God, and feeling that this was where the old flannel trousers got about thirty bob’s worth of value bitten out of them, when the girl, waiting till she saw the whites of its eyes, with extraordinary presence of mind suddenly opened a colored Japanese umbrella in the animal’s face. Upon which, it did three back somersaults and retired into private life.”


How much do I want one of these RIGHT NOW?

I’ll tell you.


I know this is not new news in this here ol’ blogosphere, where two-day-old Mac goodies news is already stale, but I’m slow. Full keynote coverage here at Engadget, including screenshots of the iPhone browsing the internet–as in the ACTUAL internet, not WAP pages.

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