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The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
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The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)

by P. G. Wodehouse

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,994413,373 (4.04)1 / 166
Member:joririchardson
Title:The Inimitable Jeeves
Authors:P. G. Wodehouse
Info:not owned
Collections:Lost Book Collection, Read in 2013, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Literary, 1900's England, 1920's England, London, Valets, Comedy

Work details

The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse (1923)

  1. 00
    The Admirable Crichton by J. M. Barrie (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Indispensible servants
  2. 13
    Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers (casvelyn)
    casvelyn: Lord Peter Wimsey and Bertie Wooster are rather similar characters, and they both have loyal and competent valets. Peter, of course, solves mysteries, while Bertie is more of a comic figure.
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English (36)  Danish (2)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I’ve said it before (in my 3/21/14 review of My Man Jeeves, to be specific), and I’ll say it again: the prose of P. G. Wodehouse is delísh … the bee’s knees … or if “hell-brew” (p. 67) is your choice for metaphor, good to the last drop! How he does it, how he nails it with every word and never grows stale or hackneyed remains a complete mystery to me. I can only imagine what it must’ve cost him to remain so piquantly original in his wit—not just line after line, but book after book.

In the vernacular peculiar to Wodehouse, people don’t just drop in for a spot of tea or a chat, they “toddle round” to the same end and “have a dash at it” (both on p. 11). They also “curvet” (p. 83); “scud off” (p. 84); “pop off” (p. 86); “whizz for” (p. 88); “pour [silently] in” (p. 89); “sally forth (p. 97); and “trickle round” (p. 210). One of Wodehouse’s characters doesn’t just look a bit down on his luck, but rather resembles “a sheep with a secret sorrow” (p. 30). When Bertie — the principal character, along with Jeeves, of almost all of Wodehouse’s books — himself runs into a little unexpected luck, the right words to express his pleasure come roiling out: “Well, then, dash it, I’m on velvet. Absolutely reclining on the good old plush!” (p. 36). And if you should happen to visit the same archly conservative Senior Liberal Club where Bingo and Bertie decide to meet one day, you may also conclude — if somewhat less colorfully — that it is indeed “the eel’s eyebrows” (p. 205).

I could easily strike up the band all day with P. G.’s metaphors and similes, but I’d prefer to leave that little surprise to you, a possible reader of The Inimitable Jeeves (just for starters). Instead, I’ll strike up that same band with the opening paragraph of Chapter 10 (“Startling Dressiness of a Lift Attendant”):

“The part which old George had written for the chump Cyril took up about two pages of typescript; bit it might have been Hamlet, the way that poor, misguided pinhead worked himself to the bone over it. I suppose, if I heard him read his lines once I did it a dozen times in the first couple of days. He seemed to think that my only feeling about the whole affair was one of enthusiastic admiration, and that he could rely on my support and sympathy. What with trying to imagine how Aunt Agatha was going to take this thing, and being woken up out of the dreamless in the small hours every other night to give my opinion of some new bit of business which Cyril had invented, I became more or less the good old shadow. And all the time Jeeves remained still pretty cold and distant about the purple socks. It’s this sort of thing that ages a chappie, don’t you know, and makes his youthful joie-de-vivre go a bit groggy in the knees” (p. 87).

If I had to venture a guess as to what it is (other than his choice of vocabulary – or ‘vocab,’ as P. G. would no doubt have it) that Wodehouse employs in the way of literary device to achieve his comedic effect, I’d have to say that it’s his peculiar combination, often in close proximity if not in precise juxtaposition, of hyperbole and typical British understatement. This combination is a source of constant titillation to whatever cluster of sympathetic ganglia rides herd from a reader’s eye, via the brain, clear down to that same reader’s funny-bone.

It takes a true master, however, to do this and not overdo it — and P. G. Wodehouse is just such a master.

And as Wodehouse would no doubt write if he were reading this claptrap that passes for a review: “‘Sorry to interrupt the feast of reason and flow of soul and so forth, but—’” (p. 88).

RRB
04/18/14
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
Thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot barely matters, its P.G. Wodehouse's way with words. I would rate it higher but this is my first stroll with Wodehouse and I want to leave room for his even better stuff. ( )
  iamjonlarson | Sep 29, 2014 |
The adventures of Bingo Little, who just cannot help falling in love with pretty much every woman he meets. This one reads more like a series of connected short stories than a single novel, which probably contributes to me forgetting what it's about every time I put it down. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Sep 5, 2014 |
reader good. story very frothy. ( )
  mahallett | Feb 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. G. Wodehouseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hitch, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
IonicusCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Morning, Jeeves,' I said.
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UK title "The Inimitable Jeeves", US title "Jeeves"
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
In a series of brilliantly plotted episodes, Bertie and Jeeves help Bingo Little with his love-life, as Bingo is involved successively with tea-shop waitress Mabel; Honoria Glossop (whose laugh sounds like a train going through a tunnel); gold-toothed revolutionary Charlotte Corday Rowbotham; earl's daughter Cynthia; vicar's niece, Mary; and Rosie M. Banks, romantic novelist. Includes 18 stories: 1. Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum, 2. No Wedding Bells for Bingo, 3. Aunt Agatha Speaks Her Mind, 4. Pearls Mean Tears, 5. The Pride of the Woosters is Wounded, 6. The Hero's Reward, 7. Introducing Claude and Eustace, 8. Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch, 9. A Letter of Introduction, 10. Startling Dressiness of a Lift Attendant, 11. Comrade Bingo, 12. Bingo Has a Bad Goodwood, 13. The Great Sermon Handicap, 14. The Purity of the Turf, 15. The Metropolitan Touch, 16. The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace, 17. Bingo and the Little Woman, 18. All's Well
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140284125, Paperback)

'The feeling I had when Aunt Agatha trapped me in my lair that morning and spilled the bad news was that my luck had broken at last ...' When Bertie sets his heart upon some jolly purple socks, relations with Jeeves become distinctly cold and unchummy. Things become a good deal worse when Aunt Agatha demands that he abandon his life of frivolity in favour of a peal of wedding bells. But the inimitable Jeeves has the matter in hand right from the start ...and as for the socks, read on about the startling dressiness of a lift attendant.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:35 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Jeeves, valet to aristocrat Bertie Wooster, helps his employer's lovesick pal Bingo, who is deperate to marry.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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