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Wodehouse Cures Everything

If everyone would read P.G. Wodehouse, half the problems of the world would solve themselves. I feel certain of this. Here is the opening to “Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves”:

I marmaladed a slice of toast with something of a flourish, and I don’t suppose I ahve ever come much closer to saying “Tra-la-la” as I did the lathering, for I was feeling in mid-season form this morning. God, as I once heard Jeeves put it, was in His heaven and all right with the world. (He added, I remember, some guff about larks and snails, but that is a side issue and need not detain us.)

It is no secret in the circles in which he moves that Bertram Wooster, though as glamorous as one could wish when night has fallen and the revels get under way, is seldom a ball of fire at the breakfast table. Confronted with the eggs and b., he tends to pick cautiously at them, as if afraid they may leap from the plate and snap at him. Listless about sums it up. Not much bounce to the ounce.

But today vastly different conditions had prevailed. All had been verve, if that’s the word I want, and animation. Well, when I tell you that after sailing through a couple of sausages like a tiger of the jungle tucking into its luncheon coolie I was now, as indicated, about to tackle the toast and marmalade, I fancy I need say no more.

On and on like this for 221 glorious pages. I don’t think there was ever a funnier writer of English prose than P.G. Wodehouse. The man’s similes are the best thing ever. “He looked haggard and careworn, like a Borgia who has suddenly remembered that he has forgotten to shove cyanide in the consommé, and the dinner-gong due any moment.” Top that, Mister!

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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