Sunday, July 22, 2018

Summer reading ...

I am in an early 20th century English popular lit period, from P.G. Wodehouse to Agatha Christie to Anne Perry.  While Anne Perry is a contemporary writer, the other two are closer in time, with P.G. Wodehouse beginning to publish around the turn of the century, then Agatha Christie in the 20's.

It occurred to me the older authors write similarly, Perry more in a current reading style, more about social consequences of the lives of people back then.  All three of course, are within a period that has been richly chronicled in so many ways, including TV ("Upstairs, Downstairs", "Downton Abbey").    

The best author of the period is Wodehouse:
My Aunt Dahlia, who runs a woman's paper called Milady's Boudoir, had recently backed me into a corner and made me promise to write her a few authoritative words for her 'Husbands and Brothers' page on 'What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing.'  I believe in encouraging aunts, when deserving; and, as there are many worse eggs than her knocking about the metrop.  I had consented blithely. But I give you my honest word that if I had had the foggiest notion of what I was letting myself in for, not even a nephew's devotion would have kept me from giving her the raspberry. A deuce of a job it had been, taxing the physique to the utmost. I don't wonder now that all these author blokes have bald heads and faces like birds who have suffered.                  
"Jeeves," I said, when he came back, 'you don't read a paper called Milady's Boudoir by any chance, do you?'  
"No, sir. The periodical has not come to my notice."  
"Well, spring sixpence on it next week, because this article will appear in it. Wooster on the well-dressed man, don't you know."  
"Indeed, sir?" 
"Yes, indeed, Jeeves. I've rather extended myself over this little bijou. There's a bit about socks that I think you will like."  
He took the manuscript, brooded over it, and smiled a gentle, approving smile.  
"The sock passage is quite in the proper vein, sir," he said.  
"Well expressed, what?"  
"Extremely, sir.' I watched him narrowly as he read on, and, as I was expecting, what you might call the love-light suddenly died out of his eyes. I braced myself for an unpleasant scene. 'Come to the bit about soft silk shirts for evening wear?' I asked carelessly. 'Yes, sir,' said Jeeves, in a low, cold voice, as if he had been bitten in the leg by a personal friend. ... 
Wodehouse, P.G.. Carry On, Jeeves (illustrated) (p. 199). A.R.N. Publications. Kindle Edition.

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