Philip Thody

Wodehouse and the Critics

P. G. Wodehouse, An Illustrated Biography

By Joseph Connolly

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When, in 1939, P. G. Wodehouse was given his Oxford D.Litt, F. R. Leavis commented in Scrutiny that ‘his humour is a cross of Prep-school and Punch, his invention puerile, and the brightness of his style the inane, mechanical brightness of the worst schoolboy slang’. Sir Roderick Glossop, Sir Watkin Bassett or even Aunt Agatha herself could not have put it better, and Leavis’s remarks were an uncanny premonition of the elbow which the Master was going to get from literary intellectuals as well as from flag-wagging popularists when he made such an ass of himself by broadcasting from Berlin in 1941.

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