P. G. Wodehouse, celebrated master of wordplay and comic timing, captures all the drama of the fairway in this charming collection of golfing short stories.
Jeeves and Wooster Stories
Illustrated by Paul Cox
Introduced by Robert McCrum
Produced in series with the novels of Jeeves and Wooster previously published by The Folio Society, these three volumes of stories form a delicious addition for fans, or a superb introduction for those not yet acquainted with the delights of Wodehouse.
‘Like Jeeves, Wodehouse stands alone.’
- Stephen Fry
P. G. Wodehouse first introduced Jeeves in a short story in 1916. ‘I blush to think,’ he wrote later, ‘of the offhand way I treated him at our first encounter.’ It was not long before Wodehouse recognised the possibilities of the clever servant and the ‘mentally negligent’ master, and created one of the most beloved duos in comic literature. The stories collected here are the fruits of that creative spark. Initially published on both sides of the Atlantic as magazine stories, the first volume in this Jeeves and Wooster collection, The Inimitable Jeeves, appeared in 1923. Two further volumes of sublime lunacy followed.
In this gloriously sunny world, Bertie’s troubles stem from various sources: the matrimonial suggestions of his dreaded Aunt Agatha; the imprudent behaviour of his own friends, cousins and unwanted protégés; or his own often too-trusting nature. He need not fear – with Jeeves at his side even the daunting Sir Roderick Glossop or Lady Malvern can be faced and overcome. Of course there is a price, and after a spirited show of independence, Bertie’s rather wonderful purple socks, his dashing hat and even his scarlet silk cummerbund must be sacrificed to Jeeves’s notions of taste. As Bertie acknowledges, ‘It was a wrench, but I felt it was the only possible thing to be done.’
Quarter-bound in cloth with printed paper sides
Set in Goudy
776 pages in total
190 integrated black & white illustrations in total
8¾˝ × 5½˝
Vintage Wodehouse in three volumes
Amongst these superb stories is the account of how Jeeves first came to be employed by Bertie. In ‘Jeeves Takes Charge’, Bertie discovers that his valet Meadowes has been stealing his silk socks and is ‘compelled to hand the misguided blighter the mitten’. Fortunately the agency sends a new man round right away: Jeeves, who floats noiselessly into Bertie’s life ‘like a healing zephyr’. Some of the stories are set in New York, Wodehouse’s adopted home for much of his life and where he enjoyed success in these early years as a lyricist for Broadway musicals. A special treat is the unique story narrated by Jeeves himself. ‘Bertie Changes His Mind’ tells of the worrying day that Bertie decides to adopt a child, only to be dissuaded by Jeeves’s careful manoeuvres. As Jeeves modestly says, ‘I have usually contrived to show a certain modicum of what I might call finesse in handling those little contretemps which inevitably arise from time to time in the daily life of a gentleman’s personal gentlemen.’
Over 35 stories are collected in these three volumes, stories in which Wodehouse perfected the characters he would later launch into full-length novels. The ‘cleverest plotter in the business’, Wodehouse was a master of the short story. In a few pages he could delineate a cast of comic characters, create a deliciously improbable situation, have Jeeves save the day with an inspired scheme, and never suffer a pause in the sparkling dialogue.
Produced in series with the novel Thank You, Jeeves, these three volumes of stories are an ideal addition for fans, or a superb introduction for those not yet acquainted with the delights of Wodehouse. The lively brush of Paul Cox has been employed in creating over 50 illustrations for each book, capturing some exquisitely funny moments: Aunt Agatha confounded when Bertie produces her stolen pearls; the unspeakable Oswald pushed into the lake; and Bertie and the Right Honourable Filmer trapped on a tower by an aggressive swan.
‘His amiable, resolutely lightweight fiction, which looks as if it ought to have dated almost instantly, has dated scarcely at all.’
- Sunday Correspondent