08 October 2011


While I was in London, I discovered a large collection of books that all had the same type of cover art at a local bookstore. The covers caught my attention and I was curious about why there were so many of them.

It turned out that they were all books by a man named P.G. Wodehouse. I had never heard of him, but, as it turns out, he is considered England's greatest comic writer of the twentieth century. He originally worked at a bank. After success in publishing various stories and articles, however, he became a full time writer.

Wodehouse's literary career lasted more than seventy years and he published over ninety books. Talk about an accomplishment!!! Besides novels, Wodehouse also wrote short stories, plays, poems, songs, and some journalistic pieces.

He moved to America in 1909 at the age of 28 and eventually became and American citizen in 1955. Wodehouse died at the age of 93 in 1975.

I have not finished reading it, but I wanted to share an excerpt (Warning: it is a bit of a spoiler to the specific story in the book, but there are tons more!). It is pretty funny to read British humor...quite different from American humor today!

Some background on this quote: George Mulliner has suffered terribly from a stammer, especially in the presence of lady-folk. He has fallen in love with a woman who shares his love of crossword puzzles and synonyms. In order to express his sentiments, he visits a doctor and spends a grueling day working on the problem.
When he makes it home, he has the following encounter with his love, Susan Blake...

"Had he wished at that moment to say, 'Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers', he could have done it without a second thought.

But he had better things to say than that.

'Miss Blake-Susan-Susie.' He took her hand in his. His voice rang out clear and unimpeded. It seemed to his incredible that he had ever yammered at this girl like an over-heated steam-radiator. 'It cannot have escaped your notice that I have long entertained towards you sentiments warmer and deeper than those of ordinary friendship. It is love, Susan, that has been animating my bosom. Love, first a tiny seed, has burgeoned in my heart till, blazing into a flame, it has swept away on the crest of its wave my diffidence, my doubt, my fears, my foreboding, and, now, like the topmost topaz of some ancient tower, it cries to all the world in a voice of thunder: "You are mine! My mate! Predestined to me since Time first began!" As the star guides the mariner when, battered and boiling billows, he hies himself home to the haven of hope and happiness, so do you gleam upon me along life's rough road and seem to say, "Have courage, George! I am here!" Susan, I am not an eloquent man- I cannot speak fluently as I could wish- but these simple words which you have just heard come from the heart, from the unspotted heart of an English gentleman. Susan, I love you. Will you be my wife, married woman, matron, spouse, help-meet, consort, partner, or better half?'

'Oh George!' said Susan. 'Yes, yea, ay, aye! Decidedly, unquestionably, indubitably, incontrovertibly, and past all disupte!' (29)"

What a perfect proposal! Analogies, synonyms, alliteration, and all. Aren't they perfect for each other??
Read the book(s)!

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