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August 22, 2007

Blog-a-Book: A ’Masculine Fantasy?’

My summer reading has taken a few twists and turns. Besides getting distracted by reading Crime & Punishment, The Reagan Diaries, and an assortment of other small readings, I did set out, at the beginning of summer, to write several blogs about Jeeves in the Offing. Alas, I woke up the other day realizing that I’d gulped instead of savored the novel, making nary a note about either its cleverly worded sentences or hilarious scenes to continue my efforts to help garner a few more Wodehouse fans. Don't worry though, I promise to reread sections so I can post another review.

Before I do, I ran across an old article I had read before in the New Criterion article by another Wodehouse fan, Roger Kimball, titled "The Genius of Wodehouse." In his article, Kimball mentions Wodehouse’s authorized biographer and family friend, Frances Donaldson, who says that only one in ten Wodehouse fans are women. Shock! Gasp! Choke! Donaldson said Wodehouse’s Bertie and Jeeves books are “masculine fantasy,” which “women as a whole” don’t care to read. 

I know I started reading these novels in the '70s, and most of the people I know who are Wodehouse fans are also women. Here’s my question: what, if anything, changed over the years that make Wodehouse’s “masculine” novels palatable to women?

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Pinon Coffee

I really can't imagine. Wodehouse is a general favorite among most of my friends and family, male and female alike...

Pinon Coffee

Though we do argue enthusiastically as to whether the name ought to be pronounced "Wood-house" or "Woad-house." Does anyone _really_ know?

Dan Sullivan

DISTRACTED! Did you finish C&P?

Wodehouse's Golf Omnibus is terrific.

Sandy M

I used be a member of "The Wodehouse Society". They were very clear - it's "Wood-house".
By the way, I was introduced to Wodehouse by my sister-in-law. I think the books transend gender. (I'm partial to Blandings Castle books myself, although you have to love Jeeves & Bertie!)

kim moreland

Good to see you post again. I did finish Crime & Punishment. I'm very glad I read it, and can't wait to meet and discuss it in greater detail.

I have to agree with Reborto that the ending lacks...

Stay tuned to my further C & P discussion.

Gina Dalfonzo

Let's not forget Bertie's strict adherence to the Code of the Woosters, under which one must never bandy a woman's name, and never EVER break an engagement. (Of course this often leads to all kinds of hilarious misadventures trying to get the woman to break the engagement, but still, the principle is always honored in letter if not in spirit!)

If this is "male fantasy," it's the best kind and deserves all the praise, and all the readers of both genders, that it can get.

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