P. G. Wodehouse Long Fiction Analysis
Few of P. G. Wodehouse’s novels are ever far from the school environment, for the plots of the later Jeeves and Blandings series of novels frequently derive from the desire of one schoolmate, usually Bertie Wooster, to help another. The early school novels, however, represent a distinct type within the body of Wodehouse’s fiction.
The school novels
Perhaps, as one scholar has observed, these eight school novels are no more than “bibliographical curiosities,” in that only the most ardent fan of Wodehouse would be led to read them after the later work had been written. Still, the works are different in tone and theme. The novels are set at Wrykyn College, which seems to closely resemble Dulwich, the author’s alma mater. The emphasis is on sports, and this emphasis gives a serious tone to the work. Boys are measured largely by their athletic skills. One might suggest that the ever-present sports motif was a symbol of the particular virtues of youth: comradeship, loyalty, and perseverance. Enlarging on these virtues, Wodehouse was following what was almost a cliché in the boy’s fiction of the time. The cliché, however, was one particularly congenial to the author, who once noted that he would never be able to write his autobiography, for he had not had one of the essentials in the background of an autobiographer—“a hell of a time at his public school.”
Wodehouse loved Dulwich College, and the eight school...
(The entire section is 2851 words.)
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