Judi always entertains us (impresses us!) enormously with her multimedia presentations, and this time she chose P.G. Wodehouse for her subject. She admitted that even though her mother is British, she didn’t know P.G. Wodehouse until this presentation. She prefers non-fiction, but found P.G. Wodehouse’s humour wonderfully diverting, with something memorable in every book.
P.G. Wodehouse is the most widely acclaimed English humorist of the 20th Century. Born in 1881, he had a rather forbidding Victorian childhood. At five, his parents lived in Hong Kong while he and his brothers were boarded, passed from hand to hand. At 12, he achieved greater stability. He was boarded at Dulwich College (“heaven”) and shortly after, his parents returned to England. At 19, he spent two years at Oxford with a brother, worked briefly in a Hong Kong bank and wrote at night. Already by 1902, he was writing full-time for The Globe.
Although first and foremost a novelist, P.G. Wodehouse began in 1904 as a lyricist of American musicals, and continued working over three decades with the likes of Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern. In fact, he lived much of his life in the United States. However, his quintessential character was the English valet Jeeves (who appeared in novels from 1915-1974) and his novels throw a humorous light on upper and middle-class England of the 20th Century.
In 1934 Wodehouse moved to France, was taken prisoner in 1940 by the Germans. Some radio broadcasts he made (apolitical, comic) sent from Germany to the U.S. during the war made him suspect in Britain and he never returned. He went back to Paris in 1943 and returned to the U.S. after the war, becoming an American citizen in 1955.