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Wooster Proposes, Jeeves Disposes or Le Mot…

Wooster Proposes, Jeeves Disposes or Le Mot Juste

by Kristin Thompson

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A book-length analysis of the Jeeves and Wooster stories using all the tools and techniques of the academic critic might seem like a case of overkill to some readers, and Thompson has hit upon probably the worst title of any of the secondary works on Wodehouse. Despite that, this is a very interesting book for Wodehouse enthusiasts.

Where other writers have looked mainly at Wodehouse's language, Thompson (whose speciality is normally film studies) is primarily interested in the way Wodehouse constructs the plots of his stories (although she does include a final chapter on language as well). She discusses what we can learn from his notes and manuscripts about Wodehouse's working methods when developing Jeeves stories, and analyses the stories, plays and novels in detail to explore how the plots evolved over the course of Wodehouse's long career.

Thompson has been careful to write for the general reader, avoiding all but the most essential academic jargon, and the book is bound and printed in an attractive way that ought to appeal to most collectors. She doesn't reach any really radical conclusions: the core of her argument seems to be the rather uncontroversial assertion that Wodehouse is playing around with and defamiliarising literary clichés in his plots in the same way that he does in his language. ( )
  thorold | Sep 17, 2011 |
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