From the Bad Ideas That Get Worse The More You Think About Them Department:

Some frightful rotter called Sebastian Faulks has been asked to write a new version of the P G Wodehouse Jeeves and Wooster novels, to be called Jeeves and the Wedding Bells.

The news is enough to make one’s knotted and combined locks part like the quills on a fretful porpentine. Sebastian Faulks may be a very brainy chap, and good at pastiching, which he did rather well in his James Bond novel, Devil May Care. But whatever name you can hurl at Ian Fleming, prose stylist is not one. Writing a version of what is technically workmanlike prose requires a workmanlike attitude.

Wodehouse, however, is the stylist of stylists, and very hard to imitate (see above). His cadenced sentences play with literature. (Bertie Wooster, for all his apparent silliness, has a large stock of quotes bubbling in his grey matter – he’s an Oxford man after all.) His plots are as finely calibrated as a miniature clock. If a cow creamer looms large on page 2, then it will return in vengeful form on pg 243. There is no (serious) violence or vileness: even Fascism is brought to its knees, in the person of the frightful Roderick Spode, merely by mentioning the name “Eulalie”.

Bingo.  Souffle?  Meet pickaxe!

Also, it’s not just the style but the substance, too:

That is expressive of an entire, Edenic world, which our own times are too cynical and ironical to be able to fully recreate. Faulk’s Wooster will no doubt laugh at himself laughing about things such as this: “No joke for a girl who thinks she’s going to be Countess of Sidcup to have the fellow say ‘April Fool, my little chickadee. What you’re going to be is Mrs Spode.’” Faulks will create a meta-Wodehouse. A what? I hear you say. Well, quite.

‘Zactly.  We are lesser people.  That “Edenic world” crack, by the bye, is lifted straight out of a quote of Evelyn Waugh’s praise for Plum, which I would imagine has appeared on just about every Wodehouse book-jacket and fly sheet since, oh, about 1945 or so.

One is left asking oneself the question:  Why?  Why on earth?

It is too late to stop the publishing juggernaut that has spawned this idea, which is no doubt intended to draw attention back to the original novels. But we should leave Mr Faulks to write novels about the State of England (something that Wodehouse would never have done), and let those lovely frolics speak for themselves, for I fear that Faulks’s attempt will be, at best, the sort of thing that would make an undertaker look twice, before trying to embalm.

Is the idea that forcing ourselves to read such a butchery will make us appreciate the genius of the originals even more?  Trick-cyclists have a name for that, you know.  By the bye,  Mr. Newspaper Critic Person, you foozled the punch-line.  It ought to read, “I fear that Faulke’s attempt will be, at best, the sort of thing at which an undertaker would take only a single look before reaching for the old embalming fluid.”

Needless to say, ol’ Robbo will pass on this.

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