Image of P. G. Wodehouse


Lifetime: 1881 - 1975 Passed: ≈ 49 years ago


English Author, Humorist



P. G. Wodehouse

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was an English author and one of the most widely read humorists of the 20th century.

Wodehouse was a prolific writer throughout his life, publishing more than ninety books, forty plays, two hundred short stories and other writings between 1902 and 1974. He worked extensively on his books, sometimes having two or more in preparation simultaneously. He would take up to two years to build a plot and write a scenario of about thirty thousand words. After the scenario was complete he would write the story. Early in his career Wodehouse would produce a novel in about three months, but he slowed in old age to around six months. He used a mixture of Edwardian slang, quotations from and allusions to numerous poets, and several literary techniques to produce a prose style that has been compared to comic poetry and musical comedy. Some critics of Wodehouse have considered his work flippant, but among his fans are former British prime ministers and many of his fellow writers.

Wodehouse's early career as a lyricist and playwright was profitable, and his work with Bolton, according to The Guardian, "was one of the most successful in the history of musical comedy". At the outbreak of the Second World War he was earning £40,000 a year from his work, which had broadened to include novels and short stories. Following the furore ensuing from the wartime broadcasts, he suffered a downturn in his popularity and book sales; The Saturday Evening Post stopped publishing his short stories, a stance they reversed in 1965, although his popularity—and the sales figures—slowly recovered over time.

Born in Guildford, the third son of a British magistrate based in Hong Kong, Wodehouse spent happy teenage years at Dulwich College, to which he remained devoted all his life. After leaving school he was employed by a bank but disliked the work and turned to writing in his spare time. His early novels were mostly school stories, but he later switched to comic fiction, creating several regular characters who became familiar to the public over the years. They include the feather-brained Bertie Wooster and his sagacious valet, Jeeves; the immaculate and loquacious Psmith; Lord Emsworth and the Blandings Castle set; the Oldest Member, with stories about golf; and Mr Mulliner, with tall tales on subjects ranging from bibulous bishops to megalomaniac movie moguls.

Most of Wodehouse's fiction is set in his native United Kingdom, although he spent much of his life in the US and used New York and Hollywood as settings for some of his novels and short stories. He wrote a series of Broadway musical comedies during and after the First World War, together with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, that played an important part in the development of the American musical. He began the 1930s writing for MGM in Hollywood. In a 1931 interview, his naive revelations of incompetence and extravagance in the studios caused a furore. In the same decade, his literary career reached a new peak.

In 1934 Wodehouse moved to France for tax reasons; in 1940 he was taken prisoner at Le Touquet by the invading Germans and interned for nearly a year. After his release he made six broadcasts from German radio in Berlin to the US, which had not yet entered the war. The talks were comic and apolitical, but his broadcasting over enemy radio prompted anger and strident controversy in Britain, and a threat of prosecution. Wodehouse never returned to England. From 1947 until his death he lived in the US, taking dual British-American citizenship in 1955. He died in 1975, at the age of 93, in Southampton, New York.

Books by P. G. Wodehouse

The Adventures of Sally Cover image

The Adventures of Sally

Romance Humour Novel
Young Dancer Problems True Love

The Adventures of Sally is a novel by P.G. Wodehouse. It appeared as a serial in Collier's magazine in the United States from October 8 to December 31, 1921, and in The Grand Magazine in the United Kingdom from April to July 1922. It was first publi...

Right Ho, Jeeves Cover image

Right Ho, Jeeves

Comedy Novel
Love Imagery

If you're encountering the zany Bertie Wooster and his exceptionally astute Man Friday, Jeeves, for the first time, be assured that you're embarking on a lifetime of fun and laughter! On the other hand, for eternal Wodehouse fans, Right Ho Jeeves pro...

My Man Jeeves Cover image

My Man Jeeves

Comedy Fiction Humour
Short Stories Witty

My Man Jeeves is a collection of short stories by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the United Kingdom in May 1919 by George Newnes. Of the eight stories in the collection, half feature the popular characters Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, while the ot...

Love Among the Chickens Cover image

Love Among the Chickens

Comedy Fiction Novel
Humorous Fiction

Love Among the Chickens is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published as a book in the United Kingdom in June 1906 by George Newnes, London, and in the United States by Circle Publishing, New York, on 11 May 1909. It had already appeared there as a...

The Clicking of Cuthbert Cover image

The Clicking of Cuthbert

Fiction Humour
Short Stories

The Clicking of Cuthbert is a collection of ten short stories by P. G. Wodehouse, all with a golfing theme. It was first published in the United Kingdom on 3 February 1922 by Herbert Jenkins Ltd of London. It was later published in the United States...

Something New Cover image

Something New

Comedy Humour Novel
Castle Aristocracy

Something Fresh is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published as "Something New" in the United States, by D. Appleton & Company on 3 September 1915. It was published in the United Kingdom as "Something Fresh" by Methuen & Co. on 16 September 1915. T...

Psmith in the City Cover image

Psmith in the City

Comedy Novel
Family Cricket

Psmith in the City is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published on 23 September 1910 by Adam & Charles Black, London. The story was originally released as a serial in The Captain magazine, between October 1908 and March 1909, under the title The Ne...

A Wodehouse Miscellany; Articles and Stories Cover image

A Wodehouse Miscellany; Articles and Stories

Fiction Humour
Analysis Satire

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was an English comic writer who enjoyed enormous popular success for more than seventy years. Best known today for the Jeeves and Blanding Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a talented playwright and ly...

A Damsel in Distress Cover image

A Damsel in Distress

Humour Novel
Love Mystery

A Damsel in Distress is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the United States on 4 October 1919 by George H. Doran, New York, and in the United Kingdom by Herbert Jenkins, London, on 15 October 1919. It had previously been serialized in Th...

Brain Three Men and a Maid Cover image

Brain Three Men and a Maid

Romance Fiction
Marriage Love

This book with two titles, Three Men and a Maid in the USA and The Girl on the Boat in the UK is a typical P.G. Wodehouse romantic comedy, involving, at various times: a disastrous talent quest, a lawyer with a revolver, a bulldog with a mind of his...

Indiscretions of Archie Cover image

Indiscretions of Archie

Humour Novel
Love Greed

Indiscretions of Archie is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the United Kingdom on 14 February 1921 by Herbert Jenkins, London, and in the United States on 15 July 1921 by George H. Doran, New York. The book was adapted from a series of...

A Gentleman of Leisure Cover image

A Gentleman of Leisure

Fiction Humour
Love Comics Comedy Castle Wealth Fun

A wealthy, love-sick bachelor, crooks, and card-sharps ensconced in an English castle make for a classic Wodehousian comedy of star-crossed lovers, imposters and stolen jewels. It all gets a bit thick, what?

Ukridge Cover image


Fortune Humorous Fiction Classics Accident

“Do not count your chickens before they are hatched” is a classic saying that might well have been remembered by Ukridge. Ukridge is always on the verge of making a fortune and counting his thousands before they are made. But Dame Fortune is a fickle...

Sam In The Suburbs Cover image

Sam In The Suburbs

Detective Escape Comedy Satire

In this, a man who finds himself stranded in the suburbs after a series of misadventures. Set in the early 20th century, "Sam in the Suburbs" is a classic example of Wodehouse's witty and entertaining writing style. The story is filled with a cast o...

The Small Bachelor Cover image

The Small Bachelor

Fiction Humour
Love Comedy Self-Discovery Witty Fun Classic Literature Entertainment Laughter Hilarious

It is a delightful and humorous novel that will tickle the funny bone of young readers. This book offers a charming story filled with wit, romance, and comical situations. Set in the 1920s, "The Small Bachelor" introduces readers to George Finch, a t...

The Inimitable Jeeves Cover image

The Inimitable Jeeves

Satire Fiction Novel
Comedy Humorous Fiction Farce social commentary Hilarious Delightful

Brace yourself for an uproarious adventure through the misadventures of the well-meaning but perpetually hapless Bertie Wooster and his ever-resourceful valet, Jeeves. As the curtain rises on this classic comedic tale, the young bachelor, Bertie Woos...

A Prefect's Uncle Cover image

A Prefect's Uncle

Satire Fiction Humour Novel
School Comedy Friendship social commentary Twists Coming-of-age Laughter Hilarious Manners

In the hallowed halls of St. Austin's School, young Farnie Alaric Pyke, known for his mischievous escapades, finds himself thrust into an unexpected role. His uncle, the esteemed Major-General Sir Egbert Thistleton, has taken charge of the school as...

The Girl on the Boat Cover image

The Girl on the Boat

Satire Romance Fiction Humour Novel
Comedy Identity Relationships Obstacles Secret Clever Boat Hilarious Delightful

Meet Sam Marlowe, an amiable, yet somewhat hapless, young man hopelessly smitten with the charming but elusive heiress, Miss Molly McEachern. Determined to win her heart, Sam embarks on a journey to America aboard the R.M.S. Atlantic. Little does he...

Meet Mr. Mulliner Cover image

Meet Mr. Mulliner

Fiction Humour
Comedy Satire Witty Classic Literature Entertainment Joys Laughter

Step into a world of uproarious laughter and eccentric tales in "Meet Mr. Mulliner" by P. G. Wodehouse. Brace yourself for a hilarious journey through the peculiar anecdotes spun by the inimitable Mr. Mulliner himself, a master storyteller whose fami...

Wodehouse Miscellany Cover image

Wodehouse Miscellany

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was an English comic writer who enjoyed enormous popular success for more than seventy years. Best known today for the Jeeves and Blanding Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a talented playwright and ly...

Mike: A Public School Story Cover image

Mike: A Public School Story

This novel introduces the characters Mike Jackson and Psmith, who are featured in several of Wodehouse’s later works. It shows how the two characters first met each other as teenagers at boarding school. As Psmith doesn’t appear until about halfway t...

Psmith, Journalist Cover image

Psmith, Journalist

Psmith takes over editing a paper while the usual editor is away on vacation. He takes on a local slum lord, and divers alarums ensue. (description by Psuke Bariah)

Swoop! Cover image


The Swoop! tells of the simultaneous invasion of England by several armies — "England was not merely beneath the heel of the invader. It was beneath the heels of nine invaders. There was barely standing-room." (ch. 1) — and features references to man...

Piccadilly Jim Cover image

Piccadilly Jim

A young red-head plots to kidnap her irritating cousin with the help of a former boxer, her uncle, and a rogue who has his eye on her. Things don't work out exactly as planned, as criminals, detectives and cases of mistaken identity all get in the wa...

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