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Love Among the Chickens (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

P. G. Wodehouse , Robert McCrum
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 April 2002 Penguin Modern Classics
Written when he was 25, LOVE AMONG THE CHICKENS launched P.G. Wodehouse's career as a novelist and introduced the world to Uckridge, one of his most extraordinary inventions. Robert McCrum's introduction shows how this fascinating early book holds within it so many of the themes which Wodehouse was to make his own. This edition uses Wodehouse's 1920 revised edition of the 1906 original.

Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New edition edition (4 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141187042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141187044
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The author of almost a hundred books and the creator of Jeeves, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and Mr Mulliner, P.G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and educated at Dulwich College. After two years with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank he became a full-time writer, contributing to a variety of periodicals including Punch and the Globe. He married in 1914. As well as his novels and short stories, he wrote lyrics for musical comedies with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, and at one stage had five musicals running simultaneously on Broadway. His time in Hollywood also provided much source material for fiction. At the age of 93, in the New Year's Honours List of 1975, he received a long-overdue knighthood, only to die on St Valentine's Day some 45 days later.

Product Description

About the Author

Pelham (Plum) Grenville Wodehouse was born in 1881 in Guildford. Having spent his early years in Hong Kong he was sent to Dulwich College and worked as a banker, journalist and Broadway lyricist before embarking on his remarkable career as a novelist. He became an American citizen in 1955 and died in Southampton, New York on February 14 1975.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
'A gentleman called to see you when you were out last night, sir,' said Mrs Medley, my landlady, removing the last of the breakfast things. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An early example of the author's style 13 Nov 2003
By A Customer
The original version of "Love among the chickens" was substantially revised by Wodehouse at the start of the 1920s, and it is the revised volume that has finally emerged from its long period out of print. The central character of Ukridge (remarkably, married by this stage) offers Wodehouse the ideal combination of farce and dialogue that has served him so well in the past. As ever, the plot is incidental to the overall enjoyment of the book.
The fact that Wodehouse revised the work after his comic style had emerged (moving away from the schoolboy tales of his early years) does come through on occasions. Every once in a while a piece of dialogue or a phrase will jar slightly - noticeable only because of the generally smooth text surrounding it. It does not damage the enjoyment of the book, but it does remind the reader of how accomplished Wodehouse became in the post war era by highlighting the evolution of his style.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Plucky Effort From The Master-To-Be! 2 Mar 2011

Eagle-eyed readers of this review will already have noticed that `Love Among The Chickens' is the recipient of a mere four stars out of five. This should not detract from what is a thoroughly enjoyable slice of froth. And yet (I hear you ask), why the errant star? Well, to give this early P.G. Wodehouse opus the full dosage of asterisks would suggest that it can only be matched, but not beaten, among his countless works. Is `Love Among The Chickens' really up among the stratospheric comedic heights of the best Jeeves novels or the best Mulliner short stories? Put simply, no. Nevertheless, in its own right, it is a marvellous read.

The scant plot revolves around novelist Jeremy Garnet being persuaded by that indomitable entrepreneur, Ukridge (introduced here for the first time and in the unlikely (and never to be repeated) state of wedded bliss), to join him on the Dorset coast to set up a chicken farm. What follows is a story of romance and foul-rearing, which is surely the best romantic, foul-rearing tale to yet be published.

Nevertheless, in `Love Among The Chickens', P.G. Wodehouse is very much finding his form. There are some flashes of real magic, notably in the passages involving the money makers' arrival at the farm and (later) a ludicrous attempt by Garnet to win over his prospective father-in-law whilst swimming in the sea accompanied by Ukridge, who provides supposed moral support. Yet, these are only flashes of five-star Plum. Although revised in 1921 from the original 1906 edition, `Love Among The Chickens' lacks the real plot twists-and-turns and inimitable absurdity that makes Wodehouse the master of all things humorous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An early Wodehouse Gem 6 Oct 2007
P G Wodehouse's genius comes flying out of the pages without so much as a clipped wing in sight. After the school stories for Wodehouse's literary style to come almost fully formed is a delight to behold. Admittedly there is less farce in this than in the later books, misunderstanding is perhaps more underplayed than it would become but even so the form is very much there. The dialogue is bright and warm, the writing witty and charming.

Unusually the narrative is written in the first person with novelist Jeremy Garnet telling the story of his love for Phyllis and how the interference of her father, Professor Derrick, and Garnet's school friend Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge conspire to derail it.

Ukridge is quite rightly considered amongst the greatest of Wodehouse's comic creations. From his spectacles held together with ginger beer wire, his constantly worn raincoat to his get rich schemes Ukridge is very much of the raft of Wodehouse supporting actors that make his books such a pleasure to read and re-read time and time again.

Ukridge's unusual methods for chicken farming were never going to be a success but this all makes for `Love amongst the Chickens' being a triumph and stands out from Wodehouse's early work like a beacon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A turning point 18 Oct 2010
This is a review of the original book and not the later re-write.

This novel proved to be a turning point in P.G. Wodehouse's career. It was the first of his work to be published in America (in 1909, three years after its U.K. publication), it features his first truly celebrated character in Ukridge and the book would continue to be one of his most popular efforts more than a hundred years on.

The story itself revolves around Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge and his efforts to run a chicken farm in Dorset. With him he takes his wife and his long-suffering friend Jeremy Garnet. The latter attempts to court a local girl while trying to assist in making the business a success but his efforts are not helped by Ukridge's lack of tact and his unusual attitudes towards poultry farming.

Several of the writer's earlier stories had suffered from his inability to construct strong and tight plots but that is not an issue here. Wodehouse based the contents on letters sent to him by an old schoolfriend, William Townsend about a farming friend of his and blended the anecdotes given to him with his own ideas. The result is by far the best book that he had written up to this point.

Wodehouse himself did not remain entirely satisfied however, and decided to rewrite the tale in 1921. By this point his writing craft had developed to the extent that he was able to add a lot more humour and could also streamline the story, trimming it of unneccessary scenes and peripheral characters.

Those revisions have made this original version of the book less essential, as it has been dwarfed by the later edition but it remains a strong work in its own right.
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