Tony Blair Recommends P.G. Wodehouse

Letter to Penguin books following re-release of Wodehouse books

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Someone once wrote that the world was divisible into people who liked PG Wodehouse's stuff, and those who didn't. New Labour is, of course, more inclusive than that. But I know what they meant.

To remember reading my first Wodehouse is the work of a moment. A Jeeves short story, as it happens, and no doubt a Penguin paperback. Even at this distance, what stabs at the memory is simply how funny it was. How well-written, and how inventive, too. But just how funny: almost every sentence, pretty well every page, and over many, many years for PG Wodehouse, close on every book. I re-read Wodehouse whenever the work pressure gets hard.
Wodehouse has kept himself in print because of his appeal - in Britain, and widely abroad, though I often wonder how on earth he is translatable into other languages. But 80 years after Jeeves and Bertie first appeared, the idea of presenting PG Wodehouse to new audiences and new readers is a good one. I envy those who've never read him before - the prospect of reams of unread Wodehouse stretching out in front of you is, to long-standing admirers and readers like me and millions of others, something which is enticing to contemplate.

Reissuing all the Jeeves and Wooster titles is a pretty good second. I welcome new and not-so-new readers to the Wodehouse fold.

Tony Blair

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