Another “Plum Take” (from the NY Review of Books)

Here’s another voice chiming in on Wodehouse’s “silliness”:  in the New York Review of Books in 2013, Geoffrey Wheatcroft reviewed the same book as Leithauser and came to different conclusions.  He repeats much of what we already know, but adds a few new twists.

G Wheatcroft on ‘Wodehouse A Life in Letters’ (NYRB, 2013)

Half-thoughts:  Perhaps part of what we’re discussing here (pace Gary et al) is the difference between British and American attitudes about what constitutes “a sense of humor” (…or is it a sense of seriousness?)  Lewis Carroll vs Mark Twain?  Monty Python vs Woody Allen?  … (I started to look through some James Thurber to see how he compared with Plum – and that’s when I thought of Woody Allen.)  – Tom


2 thoughts on “Another “Plum Take” (from the NY Review of Books)

  1. I plead not guilty to not appreciating a British sense of humor. Waugh, Wilde, and Carroll have been mentioned. I delight in all of them, and many more. I just find Wodehouse decidedly minor compared to these. I don’t actively dislike him, but a little bit goes a long way. Another example of an American/British contrast in humor would be the difference between Monty Python and Saturday Night Live. I much prefer Monty Python.

    I will read this article, though.


    Sent from my iPad


    • Didn’t mean to imply that you weren’t a fan of British humor – apologies if I seemed to. Wodehouse is light and frothy and I agree that “a little bit goes a long way.” But for me it’s his language and craftsmanship that elevates him above the trivial … and so makes him easier for me to read than, say, Waugh – or even Carroll. … Have you read any James Thurber recently? I thought he might make an interesting comparison with Plum – but he’s in quite a different orbit, and raises rather dense questions about mid-20th century American comedic writing – at least in my mind.

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