Nicknamed 'Plum', Wodehouse was educated at Dulwich College, and then worked for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank for two years, though he was never really interested in banking as a career. Having taken up writing seriously, he went to Hollywood, where he was able to earn enormous amounts as a screenwriter. He married in 1914, gaining a stepdaughter.
After a failed attempt to escape from his home at Le Touquet, France, Wodehouse was taken prisoner in Germany during World War II. Encouraged by fellow prisoners to entertain with witty dialogues, he was persuaded by the Germans to make broadcasts from Berlin poking fun at his dilemma. Wartime England was in no mood for light-hearted banter, however, and the broadcasts led to accusations of treachery. Foremost among his critics was A. A. Milne, author of the "Winnie the Pooh" books; Wodehouse got some revenge by creating a ridiculous character named "Timothy Bobbin," who starred in hilarious parodies of some of Milne's children's poetry. Among his defenders was George Orwell (see links below).
The criticism led Wodehouse to move to America. He became an American citizen in 1955, and made only one more visit to his homeland. He was made a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) in 1975, shortly before his death. It is widely believed that the honor was not given earlier because of lingering resentment about the German broadcasts.
Many consider Wodehouse as second only to Charles Dickens in fecundity of character invention. His characters however were not always popular with the establishment, notably the foppish foolishness of Bertie Wooster. Papers released by the Public Record Office have disclosed that when Wodehouse was recommended for a Companion of Honour in 1967, Sir Patrick Dean, British ambassador in Washington, argued that it "would also give currency to a Bertie Wooster image of the British character which we are doing our best to eradicate."
His novels and stories fall into a number of series:
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4 External links:
Two books that are part of the Blanding Castle series but not listed above are "Blandings Castle and Elsewhere" (1935) and "Leave It To Psmith" (1923).
Both the Blandings and Jeeves stories have been adapted as BBC television series: the Jeeves series has been adapted twice, once in the 1960s (for the BBC) with Ian Carmichael as Bertie Wooster, and Dennis Price as Jeeves, and again in the 1990s (by Granada Television for ITV), with the title "Jeeves and Wooster," starring Hugh Laurie as Wooster and Stephen Fry as Jeeves. David Niven and Arthur Treacher also starred as Bertie and Jeeves, respectively, in a few films made in the 1930s.
(U.S. title: Jeeves in the Morning)
(U.S. title: Jeeves and the Tie That Binds)
Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps (pronounced Barmy Fungy-Phipps),
Agatha Gregson (Aunt Agatha),
Dahlia Travers (Aunt Dahlia),
Earl of Blandings,
Beech the Butler,
From Pigs Have Wings:
Jeeves, Bertie Wooster, Gussie Fink-Nottle, Madeline Bassett, Bingo Little, Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps (pronounced Barmy Fungy-Phipps), Oofy Wegg-Prosser, Agatha Gregson (Aunt Agatha), Dahlia Travers (Aunt Dahlia), Earl of Blandings, Psmith, Beech the Butler, Lord Emsworth, Roderick Spode.
From Pigs Have Wings: