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Blandings Castle (Collector's Wodehouse) Hardcover – November 7, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Originally published in 1935, this book contains 12 short stories, only half of which are about Lord Emsworth and his Blandings estate. The rest are a miscellany, most of which are told by Mr. Mulliner, the indefatigable liar of the Angler's Rest. Moreover, while British actor James Saxon's reading is certainly competent, it doesn't reach the levels of inspiration of such other Wodehouse readers as Jonathan Cecil and Frederick Davidson. For an author who wrote nearly 100 books, Wodehouse struck a pretty high average; however, not everything he wrote was unalloyed gold. Blandings Castle contains flecks of the noble metal but also a large enough proportion of base metals to cause one to pause before purchasing this volume. Essential reading to Emsworth devotees but otherwise of only peripheral interest. R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Review

"It's dangerous to use the word genius to describe a writer, but I'll risk it with him" -- John Humphrys "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 "The incomparable and timeless genius - perfect for readers of all ages, shapes and sizes!" -- Kate Mosse "Not only the funniest English novelist who ever wrote but one of our finest stylists" -- Susan Hill --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Collector's Wodehouse
  • Hardcover: 301 pages
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press (October 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585673382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585673384
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #900,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eugene G. Barnes on April 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The first half of the book, which is devoted to Blandings Castle and Lord Emsworth, is a sheer joy to read (5 stars!). The final chapter of the first half is the oft-anthologized short story "Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend," an exquisite tale of how the permanently befuddled old man befriends a young lass from London who is summering in the countryside, and together the two of them set the world straight. In fact, that's just what the Emsworth stories are always about: People thrown together, each having his/her own set of priorities, and how they get what they want by practicing "You scratch my back, I scratch yours." Communicating over the din of one another's priorities is a constant source of humor, the unexpected combination of actions and outcomes is another, and the whole reveals Wodehouse's virtuosic gift for storytelling. The Emsworth stories are hard to beat.
Not so the Mulliner stories that make up the second half of the book (3 stars). Here we have a set of stories with improbable plots about Hollywood in the early talkies days. They rely too much on myths about tons of money floating around Hollywod and the incompetent people who wield all this wealth. Though they were probably pretty well received when they first came out, by a naïve public newly fascinated with Hollywood, they are now rather dated and sometimes too silly to be funny. Plus, Wodehouse shares with Shute and Waugh that singular inability of many an English writer to capture and replicate American-ese. Well, they are not horrible stories; simply relatively uninteresting. You can stop with the last Emsworth story in this book and not miss a thing, which is what I recommend.
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Format: Hardcover
Blandings Castle is an unexpected mix of short stories. After P.G. Wodehouse began to weave his novels about Clarence, Ninth Earl of Emsworth, and his improbable family and friends into a series of hilarious stories, he realized that he needed to fill in a gap. He warns that the first six stories in this collection constitute "the short snorts in between the solid orgies." Specifically, these stories tell us about happenings between Leave It to Psmith and Summer Lightning.

You find out more about why Clarence doesn't like to have his son, the Honorable Freddie around. You also learn about how the Empress of Blandings won her first Fat Pigs competition. The Custody of the Pumpkin shows Clarence as a plant-focused competitor before he became a pig-focused one. Mr. Wodehouse also lets us know how Freddie came to marry his wealthy wife and join the dog biscuit business in the States. Some of these stories have plots that could have been turned into novels, which makes the short stories all the better. The most delicious of the stories is a sweet tale of Clarence taking it upon himself to do the right thing in Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend.

The seventh tale is a typical Wodehouse country hullabaloo as Bobbie Wickham manipulates all involved to her advantage in dispatching an unwelcome suitor . . . playing the role for herself the Jeeves and Gally usually play in resolving romantic mishaps. It's clever and ever so liberated.

In the last five stories, P.G. Wodehouse unleashes his dissatisfaction with the Hollywood studios into acid satires of moguls and their foibles. For those who know the Hollywood of those days, these tales are almost biographical.
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Format: Paperback
Full Moon is one of the better Blandings Castle episodes and is graced by a delightful set of illustrations by Paul Galdone that increase the fun.

When there's a young American millionaire in the woods, the British nobility are apt to trot out their finest-looking, young unmarried women. In the latest generation, that's Veronica Wedge, daughter of Lady Hermione Wedge who is the sister to Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth. What Veronica offers in beauty, though, is more than lost in brainpower. So one needs a very shallow, very rich American for her. But unexpected difficulties arise because Freddie Threepwood, Clarence's not-too-bright son, is in charge of squiring Tipton Plimsoll, the American millionaire, around.

Tipton has been on a toot. He's just come into his money and seems dedicated to drinking it up. But some red spots lead him to wonder if he's overdoing it. A trip to the doctor's office warns him that seeing spectres could be next. That observation becomes the basis of a running gag as Plimsoll comes to regard another young lover, Bill Lister, as a spectre whenever Plimsoll sees Lister. Frightened by Lister, Plimsoll decides to go to Blandings to take the cure for his alcoholism . . . and falls madly for Veronica Wedge.

A new problem arises though when Plimsoll perceives that Veronica and Freddie are very friendly. Assuming the worst, Plimsoll stifles his feelings and wanders around depressed.

There's a second romance that needs help. Bill Lister finds himself stood up at the registry office where his awaited his bridge to be, Prudence Garland. Prudence has been bundled off to Blandings Castle by her mother, Dora, also one of Clarence's sisters so that Hermione can keep the young suitor at bay.
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