Wednesday, September 15, 2010

White kid uppers

At the TLS, D. J. Taylor on Wodehouse's early novel Psmith in the City:
What allows Wodehouse to get away with these evasions, it might be argued, is that his comedy is essentially a matter of technique, practically an exercise in pure form, like a clerihew or an Edward Lear limerick. The jokes may rely on questions of status or self-aggrandizement, but at their core generally lies only an extravagant delight in repartee, in language used for no other purpose than to demonstrate the kind of effects of which language is capable.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article, thanks! My instinctive reaction to Orwell on Wodehouse re Psmith was that he was (in the usual Orwellian way) rehashing what he'd said about Dickens re Copperfield and the bootblacking. Would stand by most of that -- and add that it's a little silly to admire writers purely for going against the grain or "stepping outside their comfort zone"; Wodehouse was much better inside his -- but the facts really do deepen the book somewhat.