This was the earliest (1919) of Wodehouse's short story collections to mention Jeeves in the title, and these are very early Jeeves/Wooster stories. But only half of the stories in this volume are set in the Wooster household. The other half of these stories feature Reggie Pepper. Pepper can be thought of as a proto-Bertie, but he has no Jeeves-like character around. The Reggie Pepper stories are also similar to the Jeeves/Wooster stories in that they are written in Reggie's voice. Once Wodehouse got rolling with the Jeeves/Wooster stories, he abandoned Reggie Pepper. I think there are only eight Reggie Pepper stories in total, with half of them found in this collection.
A few points are worth noting. The earliest Jeeves/Wooster story is not in this collection. That first story was "Extricating Gussie", which is to be found in the 1917 collection "The Man With Two Left Feet." It is in "Extricating Gussie" that Jeeves and Wooster travel to New York. All the Jeeves/Wooster stories in "My Man Jeeves" are set in New York as well. Another factor to bear in mind is that most of these early stories were later reworked, and appear in "Carry On, Jeeves." The story "Leave it to Jeeves" appears in "Carry On" as "The Artistic Career of Corky", with the first few paragraphs re-written for that version. The stories "Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest" and "Jeeves and The Hard-Boiled Egg" appear in "Carry On" with no obvious alterations. Also, the story "Helping Freddie" appears in "Carry On" as "Fixing it for Freddie", but in that case the story has been changed from a Reggie Pepper vehicle to one featuring Bertie and Jeeves - the plot and much of the language carry directly through this transformation.
In short, three of the four Jeeves/Wooster stories, and one of the Reggie Pepper stories, appear, with varying degrees of alteration, in "Carry On, Jeeves." The only Jeeves/Wooster item in this collection that doesn't appear in "Carry On" is "The Aunt and the Sluggard."
What can I say about P.G. Wodehouse's stories that hasn't already been said? They're brilliant! Delightful! Charming! Pleasant as a post-prandial brandy! It has, however, been said that for full effect these stories must be read aloud. Well, really, I say. Who's got time? What? Martin Jarvis! That's who! The finest audio book reader to ever grace my hi fi! Nobody brings Bertie Wooster and Jeeves to life with the elegance and charm of Mr. Jarvis. His range of voices is surperb! His delivery is spot on, and his love of the material is evident. You may wonder how I can say his readings surpass even those of Mssrs. Fry and Laurie. The answer is simple. The televised version (which is excellent) cannot contain every syllable, every illiteration Wodehouse penned. The audio version can! The stories here include two from CARRY ON JEEVES, finishing out that selection, as well as three others. My only complaint, if that can be said, is that the three other stories do not involve The Jeeves/Wooster duo. But who cares? They are wonderful anyway. This collection is a delight and truly worth adding to your collection- even if you own the books. However, I don't recommend listening to them while driving. You may lose control during a fit of laughter. Vive le Jeeves! Vive le Jarvis! Vive le Wodehouse!
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Martin Jarvis' reading of My Man Jeeves runs circles around Jonathan Cecil's reading of *anything* (for more ranting on Cecil, see Psmith: Journalist). He simply embodies the characters of Bertie Wooster, Jeeves, Biffy, Corky, and all the cast (albeit with the same typical attempt at an American accent). This recording consists of the two stories from the printed Carry On, Jeeves collection that were left out of the CD copy of the Carry On, Jeeves audiobook--one of which has Jeeves himself as the narrator--as well as three stories starring Bertie Wooster's predecessor, Reggie Pepper. Pepper by himself isn't as funny or touching as the relationship between Jeeves and Wooster, but the predicaments are identical to those that Bertie would find himself getting into. The only difference is that Reggie manages to extricate himself from the troubles, unlike Bertie, who relies on the wiles of his man, Jeeves. Either of this or Carry On, Jeeves would appeal to the casual Wodehouse fan, and are perfect for long road trips or any other situation where a laugh is needed. Wodehouse exceeds all others in humor and, one assumes, will remain that way for centuries to come.
This is a review of the Kindle version. It's very well formatted and has no mistakes that come to mind. There were no table of contents or any introductory material.
Coming to Wodehouse for the first time, the initial stories are exciting to read. Wodehouse uses prototypical 1910s/1920s-era phrases and terms, which give the stories a definite and distinct style. But this becomes wearing after just a couple of chapters. The later stories, fortunately, don't rely on such language as heavily, but neither do they always involve Jeeves, the clearly most compelling and interesting character. And the stories, while generally well-put together, aren't always interesting enough to make up for the times you get tired of the style and don't have Jeeves involved. But the stories are short and self-contained, so it makes for quick reading.
And as a free download, it's well worth getting and reading at least the first few chapters. You may find yourself wanting to devour more Wodehouse, or you may simply find yourself entertained for a while--either way, it's a nice way to expand your horizons!
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