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When Wodehouse died, "regretted by all," he left the bulk of his inheritance to a Long Island animal shelter. At least, that is the impression I formed. Naturally, they wouldn't have known what to do with it, and it took some time for the publishing market to adapt.
So, the first ten years after his death, when books started to become available again, there was much less in print than now. After a while, it really took off, as print-to-order or whatever you'd call it became popular.
This grew really interesting once it started to become clear that a lot of his works had been taken off the market when, for example, the plots were re-used in another novel. We are now getting in a position where we can compare these. Which I do on this page.
For practical reasons, I have just put the titles in alphabetical order. After all, who knows the order of appearance by rote?
And you can always look that up on the Books page.
Jill the Reckless
Love among the Chickens
Not George Washington
The Prince and Betty
Jill the Reckless/The Little Warrior
Nice... one of those really independent Wodehouse chicks, such a contrast with what a christie had to make do with! and her adventures in New York. Really good; don't miss out on it if you can help it. But that #$%^&* ugly cover?!
2005, The Overlook Press, NY
Love among the Chickens
First, I started out reading Wodehouse in Dutch—then, I learned English (not only) to be able to read (not only) him in the original. But this book never was available; and didn't I, an incurable sourcaustic romantic, just love it. I guess the problem was, the rights were not sold to his usual publisher.
It's the only Ukridge novel as far as I know—and he's married. Then, he starts a chicken farm and asks his author friend to help him, as he's sure to know even less about it than he does himself; which is a hard thing to do. You got it: mix this up with Young Love and get going. Great little book. The fact that I've run a chicken farm myself it adds to my enormous respect for Plum who, as always, seems to know everything there is to know about what he writes on.
OK, my edition is not so good; example, for some reason slashes indicate /italics/. One understands but does not forgive. For the rest, it's a decent enough job. Hard-cover and all that.
Undated, IndyPublish.com, McLean, VA,
Not George Washington - co-author Herbert Westbrook.
Oh, what a nice surprise. Here again, the only reason you can think of why you couldn't get it for so long must be the joint authorship. A very subtle, complicated, surprising and intricate plot. Yeah, just what you'd expect? Well, not quite. Not the usual Wodehouse fare, as far as that exists at all. It's much more like Rashomon, actually! Makes you curious about the subtitle "An Autobiographical Novel" - ah, so desu indeed. Then again, who is Herbert Westbrook? Answer, to quote Plum: "the Prince of Slackers."
The edition I have is very well produced; edited by that Old Reliable David A. Jansen.
1980, Continuum Publishing, New York,
The Prince and Betty, GB 1912
I always understood that this book is different from the 1907 USA edition and it must be. Consider:
There is a character in there called Smith, who's the living image of Psmith. But Psmith makes his appearance in 1908, in Mike and Psmith. Plum, who started re-editing at the drop of a hat, did not change Smith to Psmith. Makes one wonder which edition this really is. But read on.
The first half of the book is a very unusual story for Wodehouse - matter of fact, it reads more like Mark Twain - about a guy who inherits a Mediterranean island and starts unduly exerting his influence. He tells the inhabitants, his subjects, they should get rid of the new casino. Whereupon they tell him where he gets off; off the island.
He then moves to New York from where on the story is virtually the same as that of Psmith Journalist (1915). There's a love-interest angle added as well; in Smith Journalist "prince" John becomes Mike.
I have remarked elsewhere on Plum's almost complete lack of racism. In this version, a colored gentleman is called by his gangster companions, and a few paragraphs later by Smith, a "coon." In Psmith Journalist Psmith refrains from repeating the insult.
Both stories turn on a magazine editor going on a holiday and his replacement taking over, changing the magazine completely. The same idea occurs in The Brave Soldier Schveyk. I rather fancy it's a recurring dream of many assistant editors.
GeneralBooks.net, Memphis 2010. This is not a very satisfactory reprint. All text, table of contents, chapter breaks, just follow each other without even an extra line of space.
Something Fishy/The Butler Did It
Remember that quaint Lord Uffenham and his niece, Anne? (Money in the Bank) He makes a come-back here, richly deserved; only now with niece Jane. Spitting image anyway. Very funny book, can't imagine why it had to wait so long for a reprint. Extensive credit given to R.L.S. Stevenson's The Wrong Box for the tontine plot. But again such an #$%^&* ugly cover!
2008, The Overlook Press, NY
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