Exclusive to the Folio Society, The Folio Book of Humour is an eclectic collection of more than 100 rib-tickling excerpts, from quick-witted Waugh and saucy Chaucer to Bridget Jones and Fleabag.
The Clicking of Cuthbert
Illustrated by Paul Cox
Introduced by Lawrence Donegan
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.
What earthly good is golf? … Life is stern and life is earnest. We live in a practical age … And we spend our time playing golf! What do we get out of it? Is golf any use?
So asks one frustrated young man in the first story in this collection, and with his trademark wit and painfully keen observational eye, P. G. Wodehouse proceeds to give a series of delightful answers to this desperate question. Selected by Wodehouse, a keen golfer himself, the ten stories presented here are accompanied by a flood of lively new illustrations by Folio favourite Paul Cox, who has also created a spectacular set of colour endpapers offering a map of Wodehouse’s fictional Woodhaven course. Lawrence Donegan, editor of the golf journal McKellar, has written an introduction exclusively for this edition.
Three-quarter bound in blocked buckram with a printed textured-paper front board
Set in Goudy
Colour frontispiece and 41 integrated black-and-white illustrations
Printed colour endpapers
8¾˝ x 5½˝
All the wisdom of the club-house
An outrageously prolific writer, Wodehouse wrote over 300 short stories and 90 novels in his lifetime, yet still somehow found time to take up golf and become reasonably good at it, by most accounts. All but the last story in this collection is introduced by ‘the Oldest Member’, a world-weary sage who has seen everything that can possibly happen on a golf course, and possibly a bit more besides. He no longer plays himself, but it is his lot in life to enjoy cold beverages in the club-house and dispense wisdom to those in desperate need. As each young enthusiast comes to him for advice, the Oldest Member plucks exactly the right anecdote to placate those devastated by love, or, even worse, those at the end of their tether with golf entirely. The tales in The Clicking of Cuthbert tend to centre around two hopeless sorts: the young man distracted from his game by a young woman, or a thriving business-minded chap who believes everything could be his if he could just master his swing. Neither tends to be very good at golf, but this hardly matters. The unique final story, ‘The Coming of Gowf’, leaves the courses behind to reveal the very formation of the sport at its primordial stage, when it was simply an exotic religion practised only by inscrutable Scottish men with beards… The recurring wisdom of these stories seems to be that golf is a capricious mistress at best, and we’d all be better off if we stopped worrying and enjoyed the game – valuable advice for life in general, perhaps.
Fully illustrated, from birdie to bogey
Artist Paul Cox has illustrated a host of Jeeves and Wooster stories for Folio in the past, and he returns with 41 energetic black-and-white integrated images for this collection, as well as a charming colour illustration on the binding and a very special set of beautiful endpapers. Reading carefully through each story, Cox has extracted every bit of information about Wodehouse’s fictional golf course and provided a full colour map of every hole and pesky patch of rough – all of which is watched over by the Oldest Member and a selection of chums, of course. This spiffing gift edition is produced in series with the popular Jeeves and Wooster Stories.
No one did it better. No one ever will
‘What a very, very lucky person you are. Spread out before you are the finest and funniest words from the finest and funniest writer the past century ever knew’
- Stephen Fry
It is testament to Wodehouse’s sparkling writing, and his understanding of human foibles, that each of the stories in this collection is enormously enjoyable regardless of how much you know about golf. These are far more than mere sports stories: Wodehouse uses golf as a lens through which to view everything that truly matters – love, romance, religion, friendship, the importance of the right pair of knickerbockers and a good hefty drive. Filled with perfectly sunny prose and wickedly precise plotting, this exquisite collection is a great gift for any reader – whether you love a ‘high tee’ on the links or prefer the kind with scones and jam.
Author and musician Lawrence Donegan is the Guardian’s former golf correspondent and the author of Four Iron in the Soul, a book chronicling his experiences caddying for Scottish golfer Ross Drummond during the European Tour. In his fond introduction, written exclusively for this edition, Donegan looks at Wodehouse’s relationship with the sport and his standing as a golf writer, declaring that: ‘when it comes to writing about golf there is no debate. The art peaked with Wodehouse.’
About P. G. Wodehouse
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse wrote more than 90 novels and some 300 short stories over 73 years. Best known for the escapades of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Wodehouse also brought his readers stories of Lord Emsworth and his cherished pig, the Empress of Blandings; the disreputable Ukridge; Psmith, the elegant socialist; and the Oldest Member at the Golf Club. He wrote lyrics and scripts for composers including Gershwin, Berlin and Porter. In 1936 he received the Mark Twain Medal in recognition of his ‘outstanding and lasting contribution to the happiness of the world’, and in 1975 he received a knighthood.
About Lawrence Donegan
Lawrence Donegan is the founder and editor of the literary golf journal McKellar and a former golf correspondent for the Guardian newspaper. His book Four-Iron in the Soul, an account of a year spent caddying on the European Tour, won the United States Golf Association’s 1998 Herbert Warren Wind Award. Donegan currently lives in California and plays to a golf handicap of six. His first novel, Shergar, will be published in 2019.
About Paul Cox
Paul Cox is one of Britain’s most instantly recognisable illustrators. Born and raised in London, he remained there to study at the Camberwell College of Art and the Royal College of Art in Kensington. His unquestionable talent has seen him receive commissions from newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Daily Telegraph, the Spectator, Vanity Fair and The Times. Cox has provided illustrations for some of Folio’s best-loved books, including Experiences of an Irish RM (1984), My Family and Other Animals (2017) and a host of P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster novels.
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