“Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoy’s Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day’s work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city’s reservoir, he turns to the cupboards, only to find the vodka bottle empty.” One line from someone who had a great knack for them, which he displayed in over 300 stories, 90 books, 30 plays and musicals, and 20 film scripts. Comic novelist P.G. Wodehouse, creator of Jeeves the butler, was born on this day in 1881 in Surrey, England.
Beginning his career as a humor columnist for the London Globe, he also worked as a freelance writer, spending extended periods of time in the United States and in France. In 1915, he published “Extricating Young Gussie,” the first of many stories featuring the kindly but dim lightbulb Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves. My Man Jeeves, the first collection of Jeeves stories,was published in 1919; The Inimitable Jeeves, Very Good, Jeeves, and Thank You, Jeeves, a novel, followed during the next few years.
Wodehouse was knighted in 1975 at the age of ninety-three and died later that year.