Monday, May 1, 2006

Laughing in Eden

The life and art of P. G. Wodehouse.
by C. Stephen Evans

In Books & Culture

"Evelyn Waugh, in a tribute to P. G. Wodehouse delivered on the BBC on July 15, 1961, zeroed in on a theological ground for the unmatched appeal of Wodehouse's fiction:

For Mr. Wodehouse there has been no fall of Man; no "aboriginal calamity." His characters have never tasted the forbidden fruit. They are still in Eden. The gardens of Blandings Castle are that original garden from which we are all exiled. The chef Anatole prepares the ambrosia for the immortals of high Olympus. Mr. Wodehouse's world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.

A deeply Catholic novelist such as Waugh knows what sin is and notices its absence. The first time I read this often-quoted praise, I immediately thought, "Of course," and I understood why Wodehouse is a writer who is not merely enjoyed but deeply loved..."

Read on...