The characters of Leave It to Psmith are deliberate stereotypes, but they are drawn with such precision and clarity, with such comic whimsy, that they are memorable in their own right. Psmith himself, for example, is the perfect embodiment of the Edwardian gentleman. He dresses impeccably, speaks with grammatical precision, and conducts himself with irreproachable panache. There is, in fact, something of the decadent in him, a distaste for the disagreeable in life that makes him at first glance merely superficial and brings him dangerously close to being irrelevant. Yet at the same time, he is resourceful. He survives by being always unperturbed: nothing irritates him, no turmoil ever ruffles his clothes or his grammar. Psmith’s self-assurance is his hallmark. It is applied even to validate his most trivial accomplishments, making him truly incomparable. In proposing to Eve, for example, he recommends himself to her by listing among his fine points his ability to perform card tricks and, what he believes to be an irresistible asset, his skill at reciting Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din.”
As for Eve Halliday, she is bright, clever, and as honest as Psmith is self-assured. She is one of those classic heroines who enjoy their independent minds, who can see things clearly yet feel deeply. She is attracted to the irritating charm of Psmith and is repelled by the dull, the commonplace, the unfeeling shallowness of Freddie Threepwood and his kind....
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