Book Review: The Inimitable Jeeves by J. P. Wodehouse
“Jeeves is a master mind and all that, but, dash it, a fellow must call his soul his own. You can’t be a serf to your valet.”
Tales of the idle rich told with tongue firmly in cheek. British humor is, I am told, lost on the colonials. These tales support that theory. Without a thorough grounding in class distinction and idle riches, and gentlemen’s gentleman much of the humor is lost on us Yanks.
‘Bit of a snob, what?’ ‘He is somewhat acutely alive to the existence of class distinction, sir’
Having seen neither Jeeves and Wooster nor By Jeeves, I am free of the taint of interpreting the books through the eyes of others. I have no trouble imaging Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie butchering their roles, and I mean that in the kindest possible way.
‘A dashed pretty and lively and attractive girl, mind you, but full of ideals and all that. I may be wronging her, but I have an idea that she’s the sort of girl who would want a fellow to carve out a career and what not. I know I’ve heard her speak favourably of Napoleon. I think she’s a topper, and she thinks me next door to a looney, so everything’s nice and matey.’
I read a couple of these many years ago, and did not go back for more.
My tolerance for this kind of humor is limited.
And yet I love many other British authors (esp. of mysteries), and positively adore many parts of Dorothy L. Sayers’ work.
I get the class distinctions, to a decent degree, but not how hard the lower classes work to maintain them.