P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters

25 January 2013

Territory Rights — Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.


The definitive edition of the letters—many previously unpublished—of England’s greatest comic writer.

P. G. Wodehouse wrote some of the greatest comic masterpieces of all time. So, naturally, we find the same humor and wit in his letters. He offers hilarious accounts of living in England and France, the effects of prohibition, and how to deal with publishers. He even recounts cricket matches played while in a Nazi internment camp (Wodehouse wanted to show the stiff upper lip of the British in the toughest situations). Over the years, Wodehouse corresponded with relatives, friends, and some of the greatest figures of the twentieth century: Agatha Christie, Ira Gershwin, Evelyn Waugh, George Orwell, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The letters are arranged chronologically with intersecting sections of biography written by Sophie Ratcliffe. This is the only book you will need to understand the man behind the characters.


"Weaving biographical information around skillfully edited and annotated letters from 1899 to 1975, Ratcliffe creates a portrait of Wodehouse as a tireless worker, devoted family man, and loyal friend…Ever droll and witty, the letters burst with insights about the craft of writing, appraisals of his surroundings, and negotiating the vicissitudes of life ('One good result of the [air]-raid is that two dinner engagements which we had have been cancelled!'). The book is an excellent introduction to Wodehouse’s life." — Publishers Weekly

"Starred review. Although they don’t reveal him at his stylish, polished best, these letters by P.G. Wodehouse (1881–1975) are casual, funny and revealing asides from a prolific and successful career…Editor Ratcliffe's generous annotations and judicious edits give scope to a rich, brilliant, happy, oblivious life." — Kirkus Reviews

"These letters…throw off sparks of [Wodehouse’s] sui generis brilliance at almost every line, while at the same time providing a rare glimpse of the gentle, self-deprecating soul behind the books. One of my favorite letter collections in years." — Donna Tartt, New York Times Book Review

"[Wodehouse] was a wonderfully amiable correspondent, chatty and gossipy and direct." — Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post



168 x 244 mm • 640 pages


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