Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Back to School with Bully

I had forgotten that my friend Bully shares my love of school stories and PG Wodehouse; he has been reviewing a Wodehouse a week since April without telling me. This week he is reading a book I barely knew existed, Tales of St Austin's, written (or at least published) by old Pelham in 1903. As you can tell from the photo, Bully is a well traveled plush, having been on the Tube as well as the NY subway and Boston MBTA (known to us locals as the T). He was gracious enough to pose with me about 18 months ago, between literary and other endeavors.

Bully describes the collection thusly: "There's twelve short stories here, plus four short essays on boarding school life, and they're all excellent examples of very early Wodehouse gung-ho adventure and good gentle humor. His romances are definitely in the future...there's no sign of a beating heart in these stories, unless it's out of nervousness over an upcoming exam...but there's an easily-recognizable frivolity of language and devil-may-care atmosphere, complete with a handful of genially mild twist endings that are nevertheless the prototypes for his later, more complicated works." I am excited about Bully's plans to share his impressions of every Wodehouse title since I have only read about a third of them (I hate to admit it but many of them have blurred in my mind).

Very foolishly, when I worked at Penguin, and could have got every (in print) Wodehouse for free, I was worried about the inadequate shelf space of my NYC apartment and refrained. Maybe I was also temporarily turned off by the fact that a Lady Constance is both a prominent and villainous character in what seems like many of the books! Now I regret it, and since he wrote 93 books it will take me much longer to collect them than it will take Bully to reread and review them.

1 comment:

Bully said...

I must admit that I definitely was thinking of you while I was reading this, C!