‘Joy in the Morning’ by P. G. Wodehouse – Is Wodehouse Real Literature?


‘Joy in the Morning’ by P. G. Wodehouse   (1946) – 264 pages


I had gone over fifty years of my adult life without reading P. G. Wodehouse. My aim has always been to pursue real literature, and P. G. Wodehouse was not real literature. Or so I was led to believe. However, after all these years, during this long cold winter, I finally decided to give him a chance.

You probably already know that Wodehouse was a humorist. Much of his humor derives from the contrast between the competent servant Jeeves and his boss, the idle dimwitted but charming Bertie Wooster.

In ‘Joy in the Morning’, the upper class characters, both the women and the men including Bertram “Bertie” Wooster, are twits and fools.

Aunt Agatha is like an elephant – not so much to look at, for in appearance she resembles more a well-bred vulture, but because she never forgets.”

The only character who exhibits real intelligence is the servant Jeeves.

In ‘Joy in the Morning’, Wodehouse tells the tale of the Steeple-Bumpleigh Horror. Don’t even ask what that is. Most of the novel is taken up with Bertie’s attempts to avert the tragedy of having to marry Florence, a woman who wants to mold Him.

She would be a good influence in your life, remember. Steadying. Educative.“

Would you torture me, Bobo?”

We get several artificial subterfuges to get Florence’s father to approve of the marriage of his daughter to another guy or, as usual in Bertie’s case, to get him out of the engagement altogether. All of the artificial subterfuges are Jeeve’s brilliant ideas. The fellows around Bertie compare Jeeves to Napoleon to Napoleon’s disadvantage. Jeeves tends to often quote Shakespeare.

Along the way, our author P. G. Wodehouse can’t resist making fun of even himself.

I doubt if you can ever trust an author not to make an ass of himself,” I responded gravely.

The absolute ridiculousness of the happenings are all just part of the laughs. I had great fun reading ‘Joy in the Morning’, but I doubt I will read any more Wodehouse. I fear if I read any more, it would get repetitious awfully fast.

I don’t know where P. G. Wodehouse stands in the literary pantheon if at all, but I suspect people will keep reading him for the very best reason; they are enjoying themselves.

P. G. Wodehouse is real literature, probably.


Grade:   A



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