chapter  2
16 Pages

Reading Up or Curling Up with a Book

Aspiring and Promiscuous Readers in P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Bertie Stories
WithAnn Rea

P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Bertie stories abound in references to reading, writing and texts; the stories foreground literary production and consumption in a way characteristic of the debates about reading practices and the battle of the brows that raged throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Not only are many of the characters in the Jeeves and Bertie stories writers, but publishing and manuscripts – novels, notebooks, memoirs and magazines – also play important roles in the plots. These texts run the gamut from Gussie Finknottle’s notebook, the Junior Ganymede Club book, detective novels by Ma Cream and Rex Stout, and Spinoza and Types of Ethical Theory. In addition, we read about Percy Gorringe’s poetry, Florence Craye’s novel Spindrift, Aunt Dahlia’s magazine, ‘Milady’s Boudoir’, romantic novels by Rosie M. Banks and Jeeves’s many literary quotations and allusions.