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Life with Jeeves (A Jeeves and Bertie Compendium) Paperback – September 29, 1983

4.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) is an English-born storyteller and journalist who came to America before World War I and sold a serial to the Saturday Evening Post, where most of his books first appeared. Though Wodehouse wrote more than 90 books and 20 film scripts, and collaborated on more than 30 plays and musical comedies, he is perhaps best known as the creator of the gentlemanly character Jeeves, "that subtle master of prudence, good taste, and ineffable composure." This three-part edition will delight newcomers to Wodehouse as well as those already familiar with his "sunny universe and sparkling prose." Let the reader beware: unless you are the kind of person who enjoys being stared at, do not attempt to read anything by P. G. Wodehouse in public. If you do, you'll soon find yourself an object of interest on the bus, plane or train as you attempt to stifle guffaws or end up accidentally swallowing your tongue in a useless effort to squash that belly-laugh. Wodehouse is, quite simply, one of the funniest men on the planet, and this latest compendium of his work, Life with Jeeves, is Wodehouse at his best.

Here you'll find Bertie Wooster, a complete gentleman, but the first to admit he's a bit of a chump; his valet, Jeeves, infinitely sagacious, the source of all solace; and a wild collection of terrifying aunts, miserly uncles, love-sick friends, female authors, crusading communists, troublesome cousins, cantankerous dogs, unwanted fiancés and more-all bound up in plots as impossibly labyrinthine as they are laugh-out-loud funny.


"It's dangerous to use the word genius to describe a writer, but I'll risk it with him" John Humphrys "A genius ... Elusive, delicate but lasting" Alan Ayckbourn "Not only the funniest English novelist who ever wrote but one of our finest stylists" Susan Hill "For as long as I'm immersed in a P.G. Wodehouse book, it's possible to keep the real world at bay and live in a far, far nicer, funnier one where happy endings are the order of the day" Marian Keyes "Wodehouse always lifts your spirits, no matter how high they happen to be already" Lynne Truss --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Omnibus edition (September 29, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140059024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140059021
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,266,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This volume is rather an odd collection, consisting of the first twenty-nine Bertie and Jeeves stories (at least the first twenty-nine to be collected) plus the novel Right Ho, Jeeves. Wodehouse hit his stride in the 1920s (at approximately the age of forty!), and Right Ho, Jeeves, the latest work published here, dates from 1934, so these are works from the beginning of his greatest period, which, for my money, runs to the mid-1950s (Wodehouse lived until Valentine's Day 1975).
Wodehouse was that rare author who was a master of both the novel and the short story. These stories are wonderful. I'm particularly fond of Jeeves and the Old School Chum and Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch; others may well have different favorites, and who am I to differ? Every story is a jewel in its own way.
Right Ho, Jeeves isn't, in my opinion, in a class with The Mating Season, Summer Lightning, or Heavy Weather as one of the greatest of Wodehouse's novels, but that's a bit like saying that Symphony No. 25 in Gm isn't Mozart's greatest symphony. Symphony No. 25 is still a wonderful symphony, and Right Ho, Jeeves, is a great, funny novel.
Wodehouse has brought me more happiness than any other author; there are, I'm sure, thousands more who would join me in that opinion. If you've never read any Wodehouse, you could do far worse than to start with this book, and you're in for a rare treat.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the title indicates, this volume is three books in one. "The Inimitable Jeeves" is a collection of episodes, chronologically arranged, each episode taking about 1-3 chapters. In "Very Good, Jeeves!" the episodes are shorter, about a chapter each. "Right Ho, Jeeves" is one long story.
Each episode follows the dependable formula of Bertie Wooster falling -- or being pushed -- into trouble and climbing out with advice or more direct help from Jeeves. Wooster's troubles are seldom simple; they usually involve many layers of complication and seem hopeless, while the Jeevesian solutions elegantly peel away the difficulties and make things right. Wodehouse's characters (all, not just these two) are wonderfully drawn, and the hilarity is frequent and intense.
"Right Ho, Jeeves," however, is different. The solutions are less elegant, Wooster and Jeeves seem a bit mean-spirited and the language and plotting seem forced. I strongly recommend you read the first two books, chapters in the second of which can easily be taken out of order if desired, and ignore the third. "The Inimitable Jeeves" and "Very Good, Jeeves!" are so wonderful and occasioned so many episodes of embarrassing public laughter or suppression of same that I have had to give the book top marks anyway.
By the way, as I'm not sure what effect my having seen the PBS "Jeeves and Wooster" productions had on my reading of the books, if you haven't seen these you might want to rent a tape before or during your first exposure to the stories in print.
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Format: Paperback
P.G. Wodehouse is truly a master of the English language. He has a unique ability to have you rolling on the floor with laughter w/ descriptions of even mundane daily activites. His genius lies in his choice of words and ability to make the words flow together. I have never encountered another author that can make me laugh out loud w/ every single page I read. I have read 10 of his novels, 2 books of short stories, and the newly published omnibus, "What Ho!". BTW - this omnibus volume is a great first Wodehouse purchase if you're a bit overwhelmed by the number of his publications; it combines all the best of Wodehouse.
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It's enough that this collection has three masterpiece stories: "The Great Sermon Handicap," its pendant "The Purity of the Turf," and "Jeeves and the Impending Doom." Savor them, and, in between, enjoy the loves of Bingo Little and Tuppy Glossop ("Jeeves and the Song of Songs" is perhaps the best) and the irrepressible Roberta "Bobbie" Wickham ("Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit"). And the aunts, of course. Wodehouse knew aunts.

Wodehouse himself characterized his stories as "a sort of musical comedy without music." But they were a musical comedy of a time--"The Cocoanuts," perhaps, but not "Brigadoon." As the stories and novels slid out of the Twenties and toward the Fifties, the innocence slipped a bit away. But the stories in this collection are vintage: "Jeeves and the Impending Doom" was published first in 1927, and the collection "Very Good, Jeeves" came out about 1930.

Another way to look at the Jeeves stories is as whodunits or, rather, howhedunits: How will Jeeves save the day THIS time? But if that were why we read them, we'd read them once, and maybe again years later, when memory has faded. No, when it comes to reprise, better to open the volume at random and pick up where the language beckons. Because Wodehouse is a wit and a stylist of the first order. Bertie's characterization of Honoria Glossop--"a ghastly dynamic exhibit who read Nietzsche and had a laugh like waves breaking on a stern and rockbound coast"--makes her more than just another of the horsey set: it conveys the horror that one might have if one (1) is a young man of little brain and good heart and (2) had once been engaged to her.

In all, a treasury, a word-hoard, a gift that keeps on giving . . .
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