Friday, June 13, 2008

Even Better Writing

I've been reading P.G Wodehouse's "Jeeves" books. Utter perfection. You look at the prose and can see no single word that is surplus or replaceable. He has a remarkable skill for painting pages of description in a sentence. Here are two examples - I have a few thousand others.
'Yes, sir,' said Jeeves in a low, cold voice, as if he had been bitten in the leg by a personal friend.

I'm not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it's Shakespeare who says that it's always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.

I am however puzzled as to why there is not one sympathetic female character. In Wodehouse/Wooster's world, all women are either :

(a) young , stupid and pretty
(b) young, intelligent and nagging
(c) old, stupid and nagging.

I'd be interested to know whether Wodehouse was really a sexist or whether he's just reflecting Bertie Wooster's distorted Weltanschauung (always wanted to use that word in a sentence).

The Master-Butler relationship would seem on the face of it to belong to history, but I find that the Client-Consultant relationship is remarkably similar. I won't elaborate further in case any of my Clients are reading this and take offence. None intended, Sirs.

No comments: