P. G. Wodehouse Quotes

Pelham Grenville “Plum” Wodehouse, 1881 – 1975

Born: 15 October 1881, Guildford, Surrey, England, UK
Died: 14 February 1975, Southampton, New York

“Plum” was born in England while his mother was on a visit, his father served as a judge at Hong Kong at the time and the boy lived there for only three years before returning to England and a series of boarding schools. Apparently, he replaced family life with writing. For prep school he spent two years at Malvern House, not enjoying it, and transferred to Dulwich College where he edited the school magazine, sang and acted in theatrical productions, boxed, and played both cricket and rugby. He was expected to go to Oxford but a sudden drop in the value of the Indian rupee, in which his fathers pension was paid, forced him to take a job at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (now HSBC). In 1902 he took a gob at The Globe and began contributing articles to Punch, the British Vanity Fair, and various schoolboy’s magazines. He moved to New York’s Greenwich Village in 1909 and sold stories to Cosmopolitan, Collier’s, and began to write regularly for the recently-established American Vanity Fair. He collaborated with Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and others on scripts and lyrics for musical comedies, eventually including lyrics to 250 songs in 30 shows to go with the 15 plays and 96 books he wrote over a 73-year career. He is probably best known for his stories of Bertie Wooster and his valet Reginald Jeeves, including 11 novels and 35 short stories between 1915 and 1974. In 1934 he moved to Le Touquet, France to avoid the double taxation of a Brit writing in the states, In 1940 the Germans occupied France and Wodehouse was interned for a year, after which he caused a scandal in England, including treason charges, for broadcasting a humorous radio show for American consumption from Berlin. As a result of this Wodehouse never again set foot in England, becoming a US citizen in 1955. With the bad feelings from that long behind him, health prevented him from retuning when he was made Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1975, six weeks before his death.

P. G. Wodehouse quotes:

“Never put anything on paper, my boy,” my old father used to say to me, “and never trust a man with a small black moustache.”
    P. G. Wodehouse – Cocktail Time (1958)

A certain critic—for such men, I regret to say, do exist—made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained ‘all the old Wodehouse characters under different names’. He has probably now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have outgeneralled this man by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy.
    P. G. Wodehouse

A man’s subconscious self is not the ideal companion. It lurks for the greater part of his life in some dark den of its own, hidden away, and emerges only to taunt and deride and increase the misery of a miserable hour.
    P. G. Wodehouse

A slight throbbing about the temples told me that this discussion had reached saturation point.
    P. G. Wodehouse

A tubby little chap who looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and had forgotten to say ‘when’.
    P. G. Wodehouse

Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.
    P. G. Wodehouse

Always get to the dialogue as soon as possible. I always feel the thing to go for is speed. Nothing puts the reader off more than a great slab of prose at the start.
    P. G. Wodehouse

And she’s got brains enough for two, which is the exact quantity the girl who marries you will need.
    P. G. Wodehouse

At five minutes to eleven on the morning named he was at the station, a false beard and spectacles shielding his identity from the public eye. If you had asked him he would have said that he was a Scotch business man. As a matter a fact, he looked far more like a motor-car coming through a haystack.
    P. G. Wodehouse

At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.
    P. G. Wodehouse

Boyhood, like measles, is one of those complaints which a man should catch young and have done with, for when it comes in middle life it is apt to be serious.
    P. G. Wodehouse

Breakfast had been prepared by the kitchen maid, an indifferent performer who had used the scorched earth policy on the bacon again.
    P. G. Wodehouse

Every author really wants to have letters printed in the papers. Unable to make the grade, he drops down a rung of the ladder and writes novels.
    P. G. Wodehouse

Has anybody ever seen a drama critic in the daytime? Of course not. They come out after dark, up to no good.
    P. G. Wodehouse

He trusted neither of them as far as he could spit, and he was a poor spitter, lacking both distance and control.
    P. G. Wodehouse

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