Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wodehouse and the Indians

stiff upper lipI was weaned on Janet & John and Winnie the Pooh, steeped in Rudyard Kipling and Richmal Compton's William books, and saturated in Enid Blyton. In my early teens I must have read everything ever written by Agatha Christie while plundering the rest of my grandmother's library of English authors, some of whom remain famous but many of whom have long been confined to the dustbin of passing literary fads.

Yet I confess to never having read any Wodehouse.

There was a time when I thought I'd try one but that passed. Then I thought I must try one but that passed too. Today, I have no desire to read Wodehouse but his reputation and enduring appeal intrigue me. Even more fascinating, is the Indian love-affair with Bertie Wooster that shows no sign of fading.

'Most Wodehouses are bought by middle-class Indians whose public school-like “English-Medium” education arguably equips them to appreciate the author’s verbal virtuosity and literary allusions better than many Brits.'

Having just read another article about this love affair with Wodehouse and having read other articles on the flowery, often formal, English used by many educated Indians, I was suddenly reminded of my Indian project manager.

He's very bright and highly educated but I don't think I've ever come across anyone else who sounds as if he's quoting from four textbooks simultaneously while not actually saying much.


Blogger kyknoord said...

I've read quite few of his 'Jeeves' books. They're highly entertaining, but very, very similar. It's easy to lose track of where one ends and another begins, so essentially, all you have to do is read one and you've pretty much read them all.

5:39 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Ok, perhaps I'll give one of them a whirl just to see what the fuss is all about.

I wish I had a talent for reported speech or I should just jot things down - in between the textbook-speak, the project manager comes out with hilariously flowery phrases that make me want to crack up.

10:46 am  
Blogger Caroline said...

The best way to read one is to listen to it...

I used to dislike Wodehouse but now I've gone through loads of them! And some I've even read.

My favourites are the ones that feature Blandings Castle and read by Martin Jarvis - best when feeling poorly and needing something to cheery one up!

7:10 pm  

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