May I just point out that today is the anniversary of the birth, in 1881, of Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse?

The fact that the man wrote comic light fiction should not obscure the fact that he was, and I don’t think I exaggerate, one of the greatest literary geniuses of the 20th Century.  Indeed, I think his chosen milieu only accented his l.g., insofar as there is nothing more challenging than this kind of humor because, above all, it must look absolutely effortless and his strengths lay in his theatrically superb comic timing and deftness of touch.   How about a few quotes (pulled at random from here) by way of demonstration?

  ♦   It is no use telling me that there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.

  ♦   Bertie: “You see before you, Jeeves, the toad beneath the harrow.”

 ♦   Bertie: “There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, ‘Do trousers matter?'”
Jeeves: “The mood will pass, sir.”

 ♦   He looked haggard and careworn, like a Borgia who has suddenly remembered that he has forgotten to shove cyanide in the consomme, and the dinner-gong due any moment.

 ♦    Unseen in the background, Fate was quietly slipping lead into the boxing-glove.

 ♦    He wore the unmistakable look of a man about to be present at a row between women, and only a wet cat in a strange backyard bears itself with less jauntiness than a man faced by such a prospect.

 ♦    I turned to Aunt Agatha, whose demeanor was now rather like that of one who, picking daisies on the railway, has just caught the down express in the small of the back.

 ♦   Mike nodded.  A sombre nod.  The nod Napoleon might have given if somebody had met him in 1812 and said, “So, you’re back from Moscow, eh?”

One could, of course, go on and on and on and on……

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