P.G. Wodehouse - Carry on, Jeeves
How many times I read, heard and seen about Jeeves since I moved to the UK?
Quite a lot.
And yet I had never tried to have a formal introduction to the fellow, so far.
Now, the problem was that I didn't know where to start with Jeeves.
There is simply too much that P.G Wodehouse wrote about this guy and I don't like beginning anything halfway. Therefore, I had to find the very first moment in which Jeeves pops up in a story.
Well, I was lucky enough to find that moment in Carry on, Jeeves.
The first short story here on a stripe of ten is actually the account on how and when Jeeves started working (or better working it out) for Mr Bertie Wooster, the self-proclaimed aristocratic chump.
There is no doubt that Carry on, Jeeves is a funny reading and pure perfection in form. P.G. Wodehouse had some wit and felt comfortable enough following pretty much always the same pattern, just like in a fairytale or in poetry.
A) Bertie Wooster meets a chap he knows (an old school pal, an acquaintance of one of his aunts);
B) The pal has a problem and Bertie is eager to help him, hence he calls for Jeeves;
C) Jeeves finds out a brilliant scheme saving the chap and giving credit to Bertie Wooster;
D) A few complications / unfortunate coincidences arise meaning funny moments for the reader;
E) Jeeves puts out a new scheme restoring order and harmony never losing his aplomb.
Thus said, this literary scheme works in a jolly good way. One never gets bored reading about the social cosmopolitan adventures of Wooster & Jeeves and - most important of all - feels at ease, relaxed, pleasantly happy. The British aristocracy wins but is scorned very well in the process and even an idler spendthrift such as Bertie Wooster is able to catch our liking.
Not to mention Jeeves, whose status of, essentially, a butler is never an obstacle to the wonder, admiration and respect he commands among dukes, sirs and landed gentry of all sorts.
Then there is the old-fashioned niceness of Wodehouse/Wooster language full of its "old bird", "old chap", "old thing" and which most villainous swearing are "deuce" and "dickens". The only books that found me as much aware as this one of the peculiar English language of their main narrator have been milestone novels such as A Clockwork Orange and Lolita.
But the jet-set adventures of Jeeves have an enchanting demureness of their own making this little book an irresistible reading, poking fun - mind you - at the likes of Freud and Schopenhauer. Because we all like being simpletons at some point waiting for a clever scheme to save us from any complication.
Carry on, Jeeves.
Very good indeed, sir.