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What ho!

Started by Opus106, June 19, 2009, 09:56:27 AM

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Spotted Horses

This thread is a history lesson. It was started by Opus106 (Navneeth), we see several now-gone members, karlhenning is "guest," reminding us that he actually deleted his account at one point, then rejoined. I clicked Opus106 to view his profile and was shocked to see that, although his last post was in October 2013, he was "last active" in April 2019. He visited the site relatively recently, but thought better of it. :(
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

Brian

Quote from: Elgarian Redux on October 14, 2022, 04:45:20 AM
I have had several attempts to get a nice old (affordable) copy of Something Fresh, but always something daft has got in the way. I shall keep trying. Meanwhile, Brian, are there any other Blandings books that live up to the brilliant promise of Summer Lightning and Heavy Weather?
I've only gotten to two more, but the short stories as Jo says are often great, and the collection Blandings Castle and Elsewhere contains a healthy selection of greats. My brother just gave me Galahad at Blandings for my birthday, a very late work indeed (written 30 years after the others we've mentioned). In many ways it is not up to the same level - you can see in his more conventional prose that the elderly Wodehouse is missing many opportunities to pun and crack wise sentence-by-sentence. But on the other hand, once the plot mechanism begins working, he is just as good as ever at devising situations. I was worried for the first few chapters but delightfully chuckling away as usual by the end.

Elgarian Redux

Quote from: ultralinear on October 14, 2022, 06:50:44 AM
Years ago I bought some old hardbook editions on eBay, initially of those books which hadn't been issued in paperback, such as Jill The Reckless (an early one) and the unfortunately-named Ice In the Bedroom (a late one.)  Seeing how cheap these were - they sold in millions, after all - inevitably I managed to acquire a lot of the others for very little without even trying.

...

I haven't checked lately but I'd be surprised if the market had changed that much.

It hasn't. This is exactly the sort of odyssey I've been on myself, focusing on the earlier (pre-war) works, and they are consistently turning up on eBay and ABE.

Elgarian Redux

Quote from: Jo498 on October 14, 2022, 05:52:04 AM
I liked "Something Fresh" but IIRC it is one of the cases where the first book in a (loose) series is in some sense not yet part of it, or more precisely, some of the later recurring characters were to be developed quite differently.

I'd wondered if that might be the case. Still, I have a copy on order right now and will give it a try.

Elgarian Redux

Quote from: Brian on October 14, 2022, 06:07:05 AM
I've only gotten to two more, but the short stories as Jo says are often great, and the collection Blandings Castle and Elsewhere contains a healthy selection of greats. ...

Thank Brian. I'll put that on my 'wants' list.

Jo498

This was not a problem for me, because "Something Fresh" was the first Blandings novel I read (Might have read a shorter story earlier, I think I read "L E and the Girl Friend" a collection before I had any clue about the Wodehouse universe). I got it as a pbck Omnibus (with 3 Blandings novels). When I (almost) binge read Wodehouse about 15 years ago or so, I usually went for the economic option (which has the disadvantage of now having some quite ugly omnibus bricks and other pbcks all in different formats and editions on the PGW shelf... ;))
IIRC a few important characters are still missing, a few side characters are never to be seen again, and Lord Emsworth is quite different from his later self; neither as dreamy nor as sympathetic.
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

Elgarian Redux

Quote from: Jo498 on October 14, 2022, 11:00:42 AM
...
IIRC a few important characters are still missing, a few side characters are never to be seen again, and Lord Emsworth is quite different from his later self; neither as dreamy nor as sympathetic.

Curious, and not unlike the strange fate of Psmith, who is Rupert Psmith in the 3 earliest books, but transforms into Ronald Psmith in Leave it to Psmith. Makes you think there's something amiss with the universe when you encounter it.

k a rl h e nn i ng

Quote from: Elgarian Redux on October 14, 2022, 12:58:00 PM
Curious, and not unlike the strange fate of Psmith, who is Rupert Psmith in the 3 earliest books, but transforms into Ronald Psmith in Leave it to Psmith. Makes you think there's something amiss with the universe when you encounter it.

The cry goes round Brisket-on-the-Midden: "the universe has lost its ancient vim!"
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Elgarian Redux

#48
Quote from: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 14, 2022, 02:30:53 PM
The cry goes round Brisket-on-the-Midden: "the universe has lost its ancient vim!"

Indeed, Comrade Henning. I believe Napoleon would have said that.

Elgarian Redux

Has anyone else tried the very early school stories (mostly published originally as serials in magzines, I believe)? They aren't classic Wodehouse, but they do form an interesting build-up to the wonderful Mike and Psmith tale. There's something about the fondness for scenes set in studies, with a brew, and muffins by the fire - preferably with jam - that makes them very pleasant companions. I read them for the mood as much as the plot, and I was surprised by how much I've enjoyed them when I embarked on a second reading.

There are two collections of short stories, and a sprinkling of novels. Blandings they are not, but worth a try.


Jo498

Quote from: Elgarian Redux on October 14, 2022, 12:58:00 PM
Curious, and not unlike the strange fate of Psmith, who is Rupert Psmith in the 3 earliest books, but transforms into Ronald Psmith in Leave it to Psmith. Makes you think there's something amiss with the universe when you encounter it.
I read that this name change was to avoid confusion with "The efficient (Rupert) Baxter", the usual Blandings secretary.
I don't think the other phenomenon is that strange. An author may not know beforehand that it is going to be a series or how it may go. IIRC "Something fresh" reads more like a standalone book, also because the focus are not mainly the incompetent idle rich but two rather competent young middle class people employed by them (a bit like Psmith later). It's also rather early (1915) within the whole canon, although I doubt anyone will notice a change in tone in the books written after the Great War, Wodehouse simply stuck to his eternal Edwardian idyll with its silly baronets, misfit younger sons, stiff butlers and "exceptionally clement, sir" weather...
To a lesser extent it is almost unavoidable in longer series; in more recent times therefore we sometimes have "retconning", i.e. changing early volumes of series to confirm with the overall "lore".
(FWIW I think in many crime/mystery series (main or minor) characters seem a bit "off" in the first or early installations it will often take a bit for a series to get into shape.)
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

Elgarian Redux

Since last October, my Wodehouse World has expanded considerably. I realised that the novels I enjoyed most were the one-off stand-alone early titles, and for the last few months I've been helping myself to nice old editions of the likes of Jill the Reckless, Damsel in Distress, Piccadilly Jim, The Adventures of Sally, Doctor Sally [two different Sallys here], and Indiscretions of Archie, to name but a few.

I can't explain why, but I enjoy these more than the 'series' books (Jeeves, Blandings etc). They have a very particular quality, which I shall now describe. I finish one, with some sadness because I've so enjoyed the company of the characters, and start another with some reluctance because I'll miss my chums. A few pages in, suddenly I realise I have a whole lot of new chums, just as much fun as the previous lot. And so it goes on, novel after novel. Thoroughly delightful chain-reading.

And I still love the old editions. It doesn't have to be a 1st edition - just an early-ish one from the 1920s or (more likely) 1930s, with that softly textured off-white paper and gentle clear printing. The book itself adds to the Wodehouse experience of inhabiting a 1920s comic fantasy world - like an artefact from the world I'm reading about..