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P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters by [Wodehouse, P.G.]
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P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

"Wodehouse said letters make "a wonderful oblique form for an autobiography," and Sophie Ratcliffe's expertly edited collection amply proves the point." (Spectator)

"Anybody requiring evidence of how much work PG Wodehouse put into his comic prose should read his letters. In her introduction to this definitive compendium of Wodehouse's correspondence, Sophie Ratcliffe warns that [the letters] display only on occasions the extraordinary stylistic elan that one finds in fiction. Indeed they do, although when the extraordinary elan bubbles briefly to the surface, it is worth waiting for. But Wodehouse was a dedicated craftsman. He wanted his published words to make people laugh, and he devoted hour after hour to making them fit that purpose. One suspects his personal epistles were often a happy relief from that discipline." (Scotland on Sunday)

"The great catastrophe of his life was of course, his broadcasting from Berlin in 1941, a slur on his reputation that never quite went goes away however often it is expunged. The whole saga is unravelled again here in Sophie Ratcliffe's excellent linking narrative." (Daily Mail)

"Filtered by some excellent editing, [these letters] are full of interest" (Mail on Sunday)

"Sophie Ratcliffe has done an exemplary job in editing these letters" (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

The collected letters of England's best-loved comic writer

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3863 KB
  • Print Length: 641 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0393088995
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (31 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006X0M1SA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #292,468 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As I write this, I have not yet finished reading this epic book, but I am completely absorbed. The title says it all: it is Wodehouse's life as depicted in letters, but it is so much more. The introduction alone is worth the price of the book, but the scholarship that has gone into this collection of letters puts Frances Donaldson's work completely in the shade. Each chapter is preceded by a biographical section describing what was happening in Wodehouse's life at the time the particular letters were written. For anybody seeking a well-written, concise review of Wodehouse's career and personal circumstances, these introductory sections are particularly valuable. The letters themselves, many of them never before published, not only demonstrate Wodehouse's flair with the written word but also sometimes reveal his private thoughts, making him more human. References to people, places, and events of his time that would be meaningless to us now are explained in invaluable footnotes to each section and provide a fascinating historical, contextual backround. All in all, it is a very well-edited, well-presented collection of letters, and I recommend it very highly indeed.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is worth having alone for the delightfully vivid and delicately observant introduction. Ratcliffe's writing is adroit, elegant but also penetrating in what she draws out. She has clearly spent a long time with Wodehouse and draws up the most sympathetic and moving of character sketches. She has enough distance between her subject to acknowledge his foibles and weaknesses; the contraditory impersonations and prejudices of his letter writing character. The selection is brave in what it includes. 'A Life in Letters' is something close to a good autobiography because it tells us things that are difficult to hear.
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Format: Hardcover
A Wodehouse novice, fascinated by the recent 'Wogan on Wodehouse' documentary, I purchased this volume last week. It is an engrossing and entertaining account of the life of this comic genius. The letters from his schooldays, and the ones which cover the war, are particularly interesting. This is the sort of book that you can dip into, or read more carefully, following the narrative through his very eventful life. This strikes me as really well edited, well worth the price, and richly illustrated. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When in 1951, his old school mate William Townend suggested making a book out of their letters, Wodehouse was enthusiastic about the idea, but thought that they would need some pepping up:

'I mean, nobody knows what was actually in the letters, so we can fake as much as we like. That is to say, if in a quickly written letter from Hollywood, I just mention that Winston Churchill is there and I have met him, in the book I can think up some amusing anecdote, describing how his trousers split up the back at the big party or something. See what I'm driving at?

You see, all the letters I have written you were written very quickly. I just poured out the stuff as if we were talking to each other. But for the book we need more carefully written stuff.'

Now that this selection of Wodehouse's letters to Townend and other correspondents has been published, one can understand why he felt that they would need rewriting. For the most part, they are functional rather than stylish ('It was so nice to hear from you again. I'm sorry Bert is not well. I hope Norah will be very happy. I enclose a cheque. Will you buy her a wedding present.')

Wodehouse also appears to have had concerns about what might be revealed in his correspondence ('Gosh it would be awful if some of the things I've written to you were made public'). This is more puzzling, as Wodehouse is consistently discreet: anyone looking for revelations about the private life will be disappointed.

For all this, taken as a whole, the letters collected here provide an absorbing biography. Undoubtedly the most dramatic episode was his decision to make a number of broadcasts to America over the German radio system during the Second World War.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Very well edited and with spot on linking text and explanation. Given that the inwards letters to PGW are not seen, the editor's task cannot have been that easy.

Whatever one may think of PGW and his work, he was a one-off. It says a lot about the man that he sought as a form of epitaph that he had worked very hard. His letters are very easy to read and happily show no self pity for the mess he made in the broadcasts.

I thought it interesting that he was a friend of Evelyn Waugh but there seems to be no mention of Graham Greene or a number of well known others of his contemporary authors.

Definitely worth reading even if you have read the biography from a few years ago.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've always been a big fan of his work and watched the TV drama recently which featured his internment by the Germans in WWII and all that blighted his life thereafter.

I found this book of letters and background really interesting and I guess illustrated just how silly, Victorian and naive PGW was.

Very much enjoyed the experience.
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