Robert McCrum Wodehouse

ISBN 13: 9780141000480

Wodehouse

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9780141000480: Wodehouse

A rich, vivid, and affectionate portrait of the most brilliant comic writer of the twentieth century.

To Evelyn Waugh he was simply "the Master." He wrote ninety novels and story collections, and among his immortal characters are Jeeves, Psmith, and the Empress of Blandings (who is, of course, a pig). Equally impressive is the range of his devotees: Dorothy Parker, John Updike, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Salman Rushdie, John le Carré, and Seamus Heaney. Wodehouse had an extraordinary Broadway career, working with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, and even dared to rewrite Cole Porter's Anything Goes for the London stage.

Robert McCrum's magisterial biography chronicles the achievements and shadows of a gilded life. The ill-judged broadcasts from Berlin, where Wodehouse was interned during World War II, produced a violent backlash in England and tarred him, unfairly, as a Nazi sympathizer. His long love affair with America was compromised by endless acrimony with the IRS. This is the book all Wodehouse fans have been waiting for; it eclipses all previous accounts of his life. 16 pages of illustrations.

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About the Author:

Robert McCrum is the author of six novels and two works of nonfiction: The Story of English and My Year Off. He is the literary editor of the Observer and lives in London.

From Publishers Weekly:

In his authoritative biography of P.G. Wodehouse (1881–1975), British author McCrum (My Year Off), literary editor of the Observer, rightly identifies the crisis over the great, if naïve, English humorist's 1941 radio broadcasts from Germany (which led to accusations of his being a "Nazi stooge") as "the defining moment of Wodehouse's life." While the broadcasts and their aftermath get the most scrutiny, McCrum ably surveys a 75-year writing career that began in 1900 and ended only with Wodehouse's death at 93. He succinctly covers all the major topics—Wodehouse's creation of the immortal Jeeves and Wooster; his triumphs as a lyricist for the musical theater; his frustrating stints as a scriptwriter in Hollywood; his tax troubles; his love of animals; his post-WWII U.S. exile; his long and successful, if apparently sexless, marriage. McCrum is franker on this latter subject than previous biographers and also dispels a myth or two. While Wodehouse largely left his financial affairs to his wife, Ethel, "in important literary business Wodehouse was always clinically decisive." When his new literary agent, Paul Reynolds Jr., wasn't successful, he fired him. Earlier studies have tended to be partisan or personal and stronger on some aspects of Wodehouse's varied life than others. For balance and readability, this popular biography, like Jeeves, stands alone. 16 pages of illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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McCrum, Robert
Published by PENGUIN 2005-01-01 (2005)
ISBN 10: 0141000481 ISBN 13: 9780141000480
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Robert McCrum
Published by PENGUIN (2005)
ISBN 10: 0141000481 ISBN 13: 9780141000480
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