Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Wodehouse and the nature of Club Stories

 After reading the first collection of Lord Dunsany’s Jorkens stories, I found myself thinking about Wodehouse and his Mr. Mulliner stories and his golf stories. I had assumed that Dunsany had influence them until I learned Wodehouse has started writing them first :D

(It is hard for me to imagine anyone influencing Dunsany since he seems to have created or cultivated so many concepts that have shaped literature as at least I know it

(I also don’t know where the Drones Club stories fit into the Club Story genre. The Eggs, Beans ans Crumpets stories are stories told in a club but the reliability of the narrator doesn’t come into play)

I love both the Mulliner stories and the golf stories. That said, compared to the Jorkens stories that I have read, they are incredibly formulaic. Boy or girl has problem. Their attempts to solve problem make it much worse. Something crazy happens that solves the problem and they get happily married. The end.

And, in the golf stories, nine times out of ten, the guy with the lower handicap gets the girl :D

In the introduction to one of the Mr. Mulliner omnibuses, Wodehouse wrote that by telling the stories through a story teller, he was able to further and crazier than he could otherwise. He wasn’t asking the readers to suspend their disbelief that something crazy happened. They just had to suspend their disbelief that this guy at a bar was saying crazy stuff. 

I’d say that the Mr Mulliner stories go farther than the golf stories as far as the craziness goes. Most of the golf stories are from the hilarious perspective of the oldest member who uses golf as the golf standard for everything. In the world Mr Mulliner’s relatives, anything goes. (Pun intended, thank you Cole Porter)

As much as I love Wodehouse, I can’t say that his work reached for a deeper meaning. The man wrote entertainment but he was one of the best at it.

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